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Senate Committee Passes Its Version Of Bill To Raise Smoking Age To 21

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A Senate committee Wednesday passed its own version of a bill to raise the legal smoking and vaping age from 18 to 21.

The Senate bill differs slightly from its House counterpart. Both measures create harsher penalties on retailers who sell tobacco products to underage buyers – something Indiana State Medical Association President Lisa Hatcher says is vital.

“Three out of every four children less than 18 years of age who attempted to purchase tobacco products were able to do so," Hatcher says. "We need to let our retailers know that this is just not acceptable.”

But the House version makes it much easier for retailers to lose their licenses when they sell to underage buyers. The Senate version dramatically increases fines – something some Republican senators balked at.

Still, the measure unanimously cleared the committee and is headed for the Senate floor.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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