BEACON TRANSCRIPT – The Texas government officials are trying to be the next state, together with California and Hawaii, to raise the legal minimum smoking age to 21.
Some of the Texas officials are trying to convince the lawmakers to raise the minimum age necessary for tobacco purchase and thus keeping the population, especially teenagers, from taking up smoking.
John Zerwas is a Richmond Republican who is also a physician. He is the one who is actively trying to promote the bill. He will be joined by Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat, Joan Huffman, Houston Republican, and Carlos Uresti, San Antonio Democrat. Each of them will file a bill in the sense. Zerwas is confident that the bill will pass the Legislature, especially since more Republicans are backing the proposal.
State Senator Uresti has been trying to raise the legal minimum age to purchase tobacco for over ten years. He is now more confident than ever and happy that there is a real chance that, this time, the bill will pass.
The number of Texans that consume tobacco products has decreased over the last decades. Only a few over 15 percent admitted that they smoked or chewed tobacco. A report issued in 2015 by the National Academy of Medicine showed that numbers may decrease even more if the legal minimum age to purchase tobacco is raised. The rate may drop to 12 percent.
The age increase will not be beneficial only for the health of the residents, but also for money. The reduction of tobacco purchases would bring a reduction in tax revenue. Moreover, the carriers of the initiative cite an analysis of the Department of State Health Services that states that raising the age would bring the state of Texas a save of $406 million over five years.
The same Department of State Health Services revealed in a report the cost reductions that would occur if birth complications from smoking were reduced. For example, smoking during pregnancy is known to cause, among others, low birth weights.
In June 2015, Hawaii raised the legal minimum age for smoking from 18 to 21. California did it in May 2016. Texas is already undertaking all that is necessary to be the next one.
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