WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Senate Bill 21 or “Tobacco 21” was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott back in June and it will now go into effect on Sept. 1. Tobacco 21, raises the age limit to smoke tobacco or purchase tobacco products such as cigarettes, dip, and even vaping devices used to smoke tobacco from 18- to 21-years-old.
Smoking—something many of us are guilty of doing and some of you may have started at a young age. Texas officials are hoping this new law will give the younger generation more time to think about the consequences that come with smoking.
“When you start to use tobacco under the age of 21, even up to 25 and 26, they’re changing the way that the brain receives information and the way that it processes information. So, its basically changing the way that the brain works,” Health Educator Amanda Kennedy said.
Senate Bill 21 was signed by Abbott back in June which will change the age from 18- to 21-years-of-age to purchase or smoke tobacco, but there is an exemption.
“There is an exemption for military, part of the discussion was, if somebody can lay down their life for the country should they not be able to buy cigarettes and I get that, its a difficult issue,” Frank said
Rep. James Frank said he doesn’t see this completely stopping underage smoking but it has the potential to make it more difficult for underage smoking to happen.
“I mean if people are going to smoke they’re going to find a way to smoke whether its legal or not. I do think it’ll make it a little bit more difficult for younger people to acquire cigarettes when they’re underage because 19-year-olds won’t be able to buy it for an 18-year-old, so I think that’s where you’ll probably see it’ll make it just a little bit more difficult,” Frank said.
Kennedy said is a good thing because it could reduce peer pressure.
“We all still have peer pressure that’s still around and so youth don’t want to use tobacco but sometimes when that’s your norm or when you feel like everyone else is using around you, then it makes it excusable,” Kennedy said.
The new law goes into effect on Sept. 1.
Kennedy offers classes at the Wichita Falls Health District to help you quit smoking click here for more details.