The Tobacco 21 movement is likely to get a strong push in Pennsylvania during the upcoming legislative session, as a second legislator has introduced a bill seeking to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21-years-old.
Rep. Greg Rothman, R-Cumberland, has introduced HB 1823, which is currently awaiting action in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The full text of Rothman’s bill is not yet available, but it would allow for an exemption from the increase for active duty members of the military with valid identification; those individuals would need to be 18-years-old to purchase tobacco or e-cigarettes.
“It is concerning that nearly half of graduating seniors in high school can legally purchase these potentially life-threatening products and share them with younger peers,” said Rothman via a press release. “This ‘social sourcing’ is a concern among parents and educators in my district and across the Commonwealth. We should be doing all we can to protect the health of our children during their developmental years.”
Rothman added that while while he believes the steps that were taken at the federal level are helpful, Pennsylvania can do more to remove new and dangerous tobacco products from our schools.
The bill joins SB 473, sponsored by Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe County, which was introduced in June and seeks a similar increase.