While the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco products is slated to go to 21-years-old in 2020, a group of New Mexico legislators is pushing for their own increase as well.

After a bill unanimously passed the Senate but failed to gain traction in the House during the regular legislative session, four lawmakers have introduced a new bill, H.B. 66, that they will be pushing through during the legislature’s upcoming second session, which begins on Jan. 21.

The bill is sponsored by Reps. Joanne J. Ferrary, D-Las Cruces; and Elizabeth Thomson, D-Albuquerque; Linda M. Lopez, D-Albuquerque; Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque; and Natalie Figueroa, D-Albuquerque. It would include a grandfather clause that exempts those persons who turned 18 before by July 1, 2020 from the increase, at least until the federal legislation goes into effect. The proposal has garnered the support of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Persons who are under the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and attempt to do so would be subject to a fine of $100 or up to 48 hours of community service, while a person selling to an underage customer would be subject to criminal misdemeanor and a fine of up to $1,000.

Additionally, Reps. Ferrary and Thomson have pre-filed another bill, H.B. 54, that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products. That bill carries the same fines as the ones for the proposed increase to the purchasing age.

If passed, the changes would go into effect on May 20.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.