To bring state law into compliance with a recently enacted law raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old, the Idaho Legislature will soon consider a bill that will unify the two ages.
The bill, S.B. 1308, was introduced earlier this week by the Senate State Affairs Committee. The bill would make it illegal for anyone under 21-years-old to to possess, receive, purchase, use, or consume tobacco products or electronic cigarettes or to attempt any of those activities. It would also be illegal to use a false identification or misleading statements relating to tobacco use or possession.
Persons between 18 and 20-years-old would still be allowed to sell and distribute tobacco products or electronic cigarettes in the course and scope of their employment, a concern that retailers have voiced in that it would limit who they would be able to employ, as well as reducing the available jobs to persons in that age range.
Fines for young adults—persons between 18 and 20—would remain the same, a fine of $17.50 for a first violation for using, possessing or consuming tobacco products, while a fine of $200 for presenting false identification or distributing tobacco products or e-cigarettes outside of the course of employment. Repeat violations of the latter half of that would come with a fine of up to $300 and up to 30 days in prison, as well as court-mandated tobacco awareness programs and participation in community service programs aimed at reducing tobacco use.
Retailers will face fines starting at $100 for selling to underage persons, while anyone who is not a retailer that sells or otherwise provides tobacco products to a person under 21-years-old will face a fine of between $500 and $1,000 as well as up to six months of imprisonment.
The legislature previously considered an increase to the tobacco purchasing age in 2018, with the Senate State Affairs Committee defeating it.
The bill has been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee for its first round of hearings.