Parks Senator Fred Mills files legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, which would align state law with the federal law that was enacted in December 2019.  Mills says the clock is ticking to comply with the federal legislation.

“The state has three years to comply with it or they’ll lose major funding on behavioral health dollars from the federal government, so it is to basically mirror-image what federal law is presently,” said Mills.

The federal law holds retailers responsible for underage sales.  Mills says the law aims at keeping tobacco products out of the hands of those that are within the age range most susceptible to addiction.

“From facts and findings nationally, the addiction period of time for someone smoking is 18 to 21 years old.  That is why they probably did this on the federal level, so this is just to protect the health, safety, and welfare of people,” said Mills.

The law would apply to vape related products as well.  Mills says he could foresee some pushback in getting the law pass.

“You know you’ll have the hurdles of freedom of choice and those types of issues.  It has been tried in the past in Louisiana and it has failed, but never was this legislation introduced where the feds had already made it into law,” said Mills.