A bill to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and electronic smoking devices from 18 to 21-years-old in Pennsylvania is one signature from becoming law.
On Thursday, the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed S.B. 473 by a vote of 135-49. That chamber’s amended version went back to the Senate where it passed by a 44-5 vote, sending the bill to Gov. Tom Wolf for his consideration and signature.
The bill includes an exemption to the increase for members of the active or reserve military, or veterans who received an honorable discharge, and who are at least 18-years-old and can provide valid identification.
It also makes it a punishable offense for any individual to smoke on the grounds of a school within the state.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe County and passed the Senate by a 43-6 vote in September.
Should the governor sign the bill, it would go into effect on July 1, 2020.
Currently, 18 other states as well as the District of Columbia have passed what is referred to as Tobacco 21 legislation, with a number of other states either currently considering similar bills or expected to do so in their upcoming legislative sessions.