Texas may raise smoking age to 21

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Texas lawmakers are seeking once again to become the next state to raise the minimum smoking age to 21.

Tobacco is currently legal in Texas for anyone 18 and older, but an upcoming push in the state legislature to change this could have bipartisan support.

Texas lawmakers are seeking once again to become the next state to raise the minimum smoking age to 21.

California and Hawaii are currently the only two states with a smoking age of 21.

State Rep. John Zerwas told the Dallas Morning News on Monday that he believes the bill can get through the Legislature, especially with more Republicans backing the proposal.

State Sen. Carlos Uresti has been trying to convince lawmakers to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products for the last 10 years. Uresti believes this year is the best chance he's ever had to push the bill through.

Texans who use tobacco products has decreased over the last decade, with more than 15 percent of residents admitting they smoke or chew tobacco.

A 2015 report from the National Academy of Medicine says that number could decrease to 12 percent should the minimum age to purchase products is increased.

The issue concerns not just health, but money. A reduction in tobacco purchases would also mean a reduction in tax revenue.

However, supporters of the initiative cite a Department of State Health Services analysis which claims that raising the smoking age could save Texas $406 million in health care costs over five years.
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