Even as a growing number of states around the USA pass referendums allowing recreational marijuana use, retailers in communities in the Midwestern State of Indiana may begin turning away young smokers who seek to purchase tobacco cigarettes. Democrat Charlie Brown, a state legislator, has proposed legislation to prohibit cigarette sales to 18-year olds in Indiana; in the future, anyone seeking to light up tobacco in Hoosier communities may need to reach the age of 21 first.
Passing a Committee Review
Yesterday, State Representative Brown received the news his proposed House Bill 1380 had advanced out of a key committee and may reach the floor by Friday. He expressed surprise and pleasure. A similar legislative proposal during 2017 had languished without reaching the full legislative body for a vote. Advocates of the current measure hope raising the minimum age to legally purchase cigarettes will discourage more young people from becoming smokers.
Numerous studies have revealed adverse health consequences from smoking tobacco cigarettes. In addition to becoming psychologically addicted to cigarettes, smokers run a high risk of developing certain disease conditions. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites cigarette smoking as the leading risk factor for lung cancer, in fact.
Regulating Personal Choices?
The legislative committee did remove a “sin tax” penalty from the proposed legislation. That provision would have tripled the state tax on tobacco cigarettes from $1 to $3. Some Indiana legislators disliked the prospect of increasing taxes.
One Republican legislator from Seymour, Indiana said he objects to regulating personal choices through legislative means. Representative Jim Lucas argued Indiana residents old enough to serve in uniform should possess the right to decide for themselves whether or not to purchase cigarettes. He noted the effects of smoking have become common knowledge.