21-year-old smoking age bill headed to governor’s desk

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Despite unanimous opposition from House Republicans, a bill that bans selling cigarettes and vaping gear to those under 21 is expected to be signed into law.

The bill cleared the lower chamber by a vote of 25 to 16, with all 15 House Republicans voting against the measure, a release from House GOP members noted.

Democrats argued the change was needed for public health reasons. The effects of smoking also make their way into statehealth costs as smokers age. A sizable percentage of those qualifying for Medicaid have a history of smoking.

Republicans countered that the state should not be denying young adults the right to make their own life choices, the release noted.

Opponents of the measure said it is not fair to maintain that 18, 19, and 20-year-olds should not be able to make a decision regarding smoking and vaping, while recognizing that they are mature enough to serve in the military, vote in elections, get married, enter into contracts, pay taxes, and serve on a jury.

In their release, Republicans did not address of the issue of the same age group not being able to legally buy or consume alcohol.

Gov. John Carney expressed support for the bill,which could lower the smoking rate and perhaps address the higher rates of use of vaping by teens.

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