Just before the end of its 2020 legislative session, the Indiana Legislature approved an increase in the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, raising it from 18 to 21-years-old in order to bring the state into compliance with the recently enacted federal increase.
After a conference committee was formed to work out differences between the two chambers’ versions of SB 1, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 37-11 while the House of Representatives passed it 77-16.
While the bill also increased the age to possess tobacco products, it removed fines levied on persons under 21-years-old who are caught in possession of tobacco, e-cigarettes or similar products. However, it increased the fines on retailers who are found to have sold such products to persons under 21-years-old. It also raises the minimum age to 21-years-old for a person to apply for a tobacco retailer’s license, as well as disqualifying an individual from getting a license if they were involved with another license being revoked within the past year, as well as places new requirements on where new tobacco retailers can be located.
The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Eric Holcomb, who is expected to sign it into law as he previously announced that increasing the tobacco purchasing age to 21-years-old was a priority of his for 2020.