AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Lawmakers in the Texas House and Senate have agreed to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. The bill now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature.
The bill would make it illegal for businesses to sell cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or other tobacco products to people under the age of 21.
State Rep. John Zerwas, MD, of Richmond is a doctor who says reducing tobacco use is a good public health policy that would also pay "tremendous dividends by preventing diseases that cost the most to treat."
"As a physician, the health-related importance of this proposed legislation can't be denied," Zerwas said in a press release. "As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I'd also like to point out that Tobacco 21 isn't just responsible public health policy, but it's also fiscally responsible for the State of Texas."
According to Zerwas' press release, smoking costs the state $8.85 billion every year in direct health care costs.
If the bill is passed, the new smoking age would take effect this September.
You can read the full legislation here.
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Texas lawmakers vote to raise legal smoking age from 18 to 21