A bill seeking to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco in products gained the unanimous approval by the state Senate, passing the chamber by a 38-0 vote on Thursday.
The bill, S.B. 342, now heads to the House of Representatives, where it has been assigned to the Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
The bill is the creation of Sen. Linda Lopez, D-11, and includes two notable exceptions: military members who are at least 18-years-old and can provide valid identification will be able to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes, as will anyone who is at least 18-years-old as of July 1, 2019, which is when the increase would go into effect.
A person under 21 who attempts to purchase tobacco products could be hit with a fine of up to $100 or up to 48 hours of community service, while a retailer who sells to an underage individual could be slapped with a fine of up to $1,000 and charged with a criminal misdemeanor.