Vermont is the latest state to start a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 down the legislative process, as H. 93 was heard by the House Committee on Human Services on Tuesday.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. George Till, D-Jericho, gave the committee his pitch to move the bill forward, one that was centered around keeping tobacco out of the hands of 18 to 20 year olds as well as individuals under 18-years-old in an attempt to keep them from getting addicted at a younger age, according to Vermont Public Radio.
While no vote was taken by the committee, some members expressed concern that an increase could be met with opposition from the military as well as broader objection similar to when the age to consume alcohol was increased to 21.
It’s the second straight year that a bill to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products has been considered by the state’s House of Representatives. Like last year’s version, the bill would make both the purchase or possession of tobacco products, tobacco substitutes or tobacco paraphernalia by those under 21 a crime; possession by a person under 21 would be subject to a fine of $25 or the suspension of the individual’s driver’s license for up to 90 days, while using a fake ID to purchase tobacco would earn a person a $50 fine and/or up to ten hours of community service.
There would also be fines of between $100 and $500 for persons providing tobacco products to individuals under 21 years of age.
No further action on the bill has been announced yet; should it eventually pass the Virginia General Assembly, it would go into effect on July 1.