West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman Proposes Raising Tobacco Age to 21
"We hope they don't start at 21, but it's better to start at 21 than it is to start at 18, while they're still growing," Hoffman states.
There will be an effort in the upcoming legislative session to raise the age from 18 to 21-years-old to legally purchase or possess tobacco and vaping products. West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman says six states and over 400 cities have raised the tobacco age to 21 and the goal is to produce better health outcomes. "We hope they don't start at 21, but it's better to start at 21 than it is to start at 18, while they're still growing," Hoffman states.
Hoffman’s proposed legislation will be House Bill 38 in the legislative session that begins next month.
He says raising the age would mean a loss of tax dollars from a decline in purchases of tobacco products, but it will have a long term benefit, "It's going to save billions of dollars in healthcare from Medicaid and Medicare, or even just private costs for people."
The legislation is expected to face opposition in the regular session. But Hoffman says not everyone in the tobacco industry is opposed to raising the sale age to 21 for tobacco products, "Even some of the cigarette manufacturers are not opposed to the concept. That's not all of them, but we're hearing some of that."