Lawmaker pushes to raise smoking age to 21

February 21, 2013 3:38:00 PM PST
Smokers under the age of 21 won't be able to light up if one state lawmaker has it his way. A bill has been filed to raise the legal smoking age.

Chris Sigler has been smoking since he was 10.

He said, "I do want to quit, but it's really hard."

So you might be surprised to learn that he thinks raising the legal age of smoking is a good idea.

"Of all the things I've done, smoking is one thing I haven't been able to stop doing," Sigler said. "So why not just make it harder for young people to get cigarettes?"

That's what State Senator Carlos Uresti wants to do. The senator has filed a bill that would raise the legal age to by tobacco products in Texas from 18 to 21. But the legislative budget board estimates the state could lose $20 million a year in tax revenue if that happens.

"I think if someone's 18 years old, and they can go to war, shoot someone else and get shot, they should be able to buy a cigarette and drink a beer," said non-smoker David Blake.

The bill is facing an uphill battle for passage. Even the American Cancer Society, which is pushing for a bill to ban indoor smoking statewide, has not taken a position on this bill.

"We're going to look at the bill and see what happens," said Claudia Rodas with the Cancer Action Network. "We know it has been filed in the past, so we'll absolutely continue to follow it."

Many we talked to say it won't really make an impact.

Smoker Katie Mulholland said, "I would have started regardless. I started smoking when I was 12 so it is what it is."

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