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Texas House Approves Tobacco Purchasing Age Increase, Senate to Consider Amendments

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The Tobacco 21 movement could soon have a seemingly unlikely state on board: Texas.

On Tuesday, the Texas House of Representatives approved the second reading of its version of S.B. 21 by a 102-36 vote, with one member simply voting present. The bill seeks to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products,  e-cigarettes and vaping products to 21-years-old, though it came with a handful of amendments to the version passed by the Senate in April. It must still get a third reading and vote, which is scheduled for Wednesday, before it can head back to the Senate where that chamber will consider and possibly agree to those amendments. If that happens, the bill would be sent to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has indicated that he supports the increase.

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Among the amendments made are a broader exemption to the increase for members of the military, changing it from active duty members to all members of the military who can produce valid identification. Another amendment would prohibit any further increases to the state minimum by a county, city or town.

If approved, the increase would go into effect on Sept. 1, 2019, however it would not apply to anyone born on or before Aug. 31, 2001. That means that anyone that could legally buy tobacco in the state the day before the law goes into effect—would continue to be allowed to purchase tobacco even after it went into effect. Individuals born after Sept. 1, 2001 would be subject to the new purchasing age.

Texas would join more than a dozen states across the country in enacting such an increase to its tobacco purchasing age.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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 the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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