On Thursday, the Georgia State Senate unanimously approved a bill that will increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco and tobacco alternatives from 18 to 21-years-old, passing it by a vote of 52-0 with one member not voting.
The bill, SB 375, amends state law to bring it in line with a federal increase passed in December. It would also make it illegal for a person under 21 to possess or use tobacco products or e-cigarettes and vaping devices, which would be punishable by performing community service or having one’s driver’s license revoked after multiple violations.
Also included in the bill is a provision that would make it illegal for any individual to smoke or use vaping devices within a school safety zone, essentially any property or building owned by or leased to any public or private elementary school, secondary school, or local board of education and used for elementary or secondary education, as well as any public or private technical school, vocational school, college, university, or other institution of postsecondary education.
The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives. Should it pass and be signed into law by the governor, or allowed to become law without his signature, the changes would go into effect immediately.