Proposed legislation would raise age to buy tobacco to 21 years old

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Putting parties aside, about 50 democrats and republicans have cosponsored legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 years old.

"We want to take preventative measures right here right now," said Rep. Greg Rothman, the legislation's prime sponsor.

Rothman says, it's about preventing kids from becoming addicted to tobacco products specifically e-cigarettes, also known as vapes. Which Rothman says one out of five high school students are using.

"The kids are buying these e-cigarettes on the way to school and distributing them in school," said Rep. Rothman. "The surgeon general says this has reached epidemic status so we're trying to do something to stop it."

Rothman's bill also provides an exemption for those who serve in the military.

"If you're willing to wear the uniform and fight for your country," said Rep. Rothman. "You ought to be able to smoke a cigar after, when you're in the field."

However, some people, like Jeremy Eberly, are not 100 percent on board with this legislation. Yet, Eberly  believes it could beneficial to teens.

"I personally started [smoking] from one of the kids up at the bus stop that was a little older," said Eberly. "So, possibly raising the age would kind of curb that a little bit."

He also thinks once you become an adult, you should be able to make your own decisions.

"It's one of those things," said Eberly. "I feel like reaching the age of adult is 18. So, I mean it's your choice after 18."

This legislation is still waiting to be assigned a committee. It will then need to be voted out of that committee before being voted on by the full House.

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