HB 1006 – Regulation of Tobacco Products
Authored by Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove)

Requires a person to be at least 21 years of age to purchase tobacco products or to hold a tobacco sales certificate to sell tobacco products. Requires a seller of tobacco products to verify the age of a purchaser who appears to be less than 30 years of age (instead of 27 years of age) by checking a government issued identification. Imposes various penalties for retailers selling products to individuals under 21, as well as a $50 fine for those who buy products for someone under the age of 21.

Chamber Position: Support

The latest: The bill passed the House Public Health Committee 14-1.

The widespread support was also evident by the 14 organizations that testified in favor of the bill, including groups that previously opposed it. Instead, what was primarily debated was the penalty for illegally selling tobacco products to those under the age of 21. Another topic was possession. Currently, the bill eliminates a fine for someone under 21 who possess tobacco. Testimony was presented that this should remain in place, while others said research shows the fines have little impact on behavior. In the end, no amendments were made, but Chairwoman Kirchofer said she expects amendments on the House floor and/or in the Senate.

This bill is on the fast track and is expected to pass the House with minimal opposition.

Indiana Chamber action/commentary: A bill that had much difficulty in prior years moved quickly through committee this time – most likely because of recent passage of a similar federal tobacco bill.

The Indiana Chamber has been a strong advocate for the issue for several years and has made it a priority. During this week’s hearing, Chamber President Kevin Brinegar testified concerning the impact smoking has on our youth and ultimately the financial impacts on businesses. He also stressed that more should be done in addition to the age increase, including appropriate tax increases on tobacco products and limiting vaping flavors.

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