Legislators in Texas will once again debate the idea of raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old following the introduction of H.B. 749 by Rep. John Zerwas, R-Katy. The bill makes changes to the existing laws regarding the minimum age to purchase tobacco, while adding e-cigarettes to a number of sections of the law. It also changes the laws regarding possession of tobacco products and e-cigarettes, raising that age to 21-years-old as well.
A similar bill was debated in 2017 but failed to gain enough support for passage, and while it seemed to have some support at introduction, it ultimately met the same defeat as bills introduced in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.
In 2018, San Antonio became the first city in Texas to pass an increase in the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, though its legality has been challenged by tobacco and convenience store industry trade groups.
Texas joins a growing number of states to debate the Tobacco 21 issue this year, including New York, New Hampshire, Washington, Vermont, North Dakota, New Mexico, Virginia and Illinois, which have legislation currently under consideration. Delaware is expected to join that group in the near future. Six states have already made 21 the minimum age to purchase tobacco products: Hawaii, California, Oregon, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts.