Add New Mexico to the list of state legislatures that will consider an increase to the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, as a bill has been introduced in the state senate that seeks to raise the minimum age from 18 to 21-years-old.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, is hoping to limit access to tobacco products and other nicotine delivery devices until young people’s brains are more fully developed and therefore capable of making better decisions, he told KRQE-TV.
S.B. 319 would amend the state’s current laws to make 21 the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes, though it would exempt active members of the military from the increase and allow them to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes if they are at least 18-years-old by July 1, 2017, when the increase is scheduled to go into effect.
Should the bill pass, retailers would face a fine of up to $1,000 for selling to a person under 21 and would be guilty of a criminal misdemeanor. McSorely’s bill also calls for punishments for a person under age who attempts to purchase tobacco, fining them up to $100 or up to 48 hours of community service.
The bill has been sent to the Senate Public Affairs Committee.