SB 1 – Tobacco and Vaping Smoking Age
Authored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso)
Sponsored by Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove)

Prohibits a person who is less than 21 years of age from buying or possessing: (1) tobacco; (2) e-liquids or (3) electronic cigarettes. Makes conforming changes regarding enforcement provisions, sales certificates, prohibition of delivery sales and notices posted at retail establishments and at vending machines. Provides that a retail establishment that sells an e-liquid to a person less than 21 years of age is subject to a civil judgment for an infraction. Triples the civil judgment for an infraction for: (1) a retail establishment that sells or distributes tobacco, an e-liquid or an electronic cigarette to a person less than 21 years of age and (2) certain retail establishments that allow an underage person to enter their establishment. Requires a merchant who mails or ships cigarettes as part of a delivery sale to use a shipping service that requires a customer to present identification if they appear to be less than 30 years of age. Makes it a Class B infraction for a person to knowingly sell a tobacco product that contains Vitamin E Acetate.

Chamber position: Support

The latest: Held by the House Public Health Committee; bill is expected to be voted on next week.

Indiana Chamber action/commentary: The Indiana Chamber, the Indiana Department of Health, the American Lung Association and a group of other interested parties testified in favor of the bill. The Indiana Grocery and Convenience Store Association only supports raising the age, but not the penalties. The Chamber testified that smoking costs Indiana employers $6.2 billion a year in higher health care costs, absenteeism and lost productivity. The risks for youth with nicotine begins early, as nicotine changes the way synapses are formed – which can harm parts of the brain that control attention and learning. The recent federal law only prohibits the sale to minors, not the possession, so we believe further legislation is warranted. This issue is also something that has gained public approval, with two-thirds of Hoosiers supporting the legal age increase and 73% in favor of raising the cigarette tax by $2 to reduce our high smoking rates.

Resource: Mike Ripley at (317) 264-6883 or email: [email protected]