A bill to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products has been pre-filed in the Iowa State Senate, with its sponsor hoping that this year’s legislature is more receptive to his idea than it was in 2016.
After last year’s version failed to get enough support to advance out of the Senate Human Resources Committee, State Sen. Herman Quimbach, D-Ames, said that he would be bringing the bill back in 2017. On Friday he pre-filed it for the upcoming legislative session, which begins on Monday.
His proposal seeks to raise the minimum age to both purchase and possess tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old, meaning that it would not only be illegal for a person to sell or give tobacco to someone under 21, but illegal for a person under 21 to be in possession of a tobacco product. The increase would also apply to alternative tobacco and nicotine delivery products.
The changes contained in the bill would not applicable to any person who is 18 years of age or older before January 1, 2018, and at such time could lawfully posses, purchase, or use such products.
Should the proposal become law, the increase would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
Last week, similar legislation was also introduced in the Nebraska legislature.
Hawaii and California are the only two states to have raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old, while in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah the minimum age is 19-years-old, though a number of cities and counties have increased the minimum age on their own.