NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Several Tennessee lawmakers are pushing to increase the minimum age to buy tobacco or vaping products from 18 to 21.
During a news conference Monday, Republicans Sen. Shane Reeves and Rep. Bob Ramsey said the bill would help address Tennessee’s poor health rankings. More than a dozen health-related groups have backed it.
A legislative fiscal note estimates the bill would annually cost the state about $7 million and local governments $1 million through lost sales tax revenues. Reeves said it will save the state on health care costs for tobacco users in the long term.
Tennessee also ranks toward the bottom with its low cigarette taxes.
As of early January, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Maine and Massachusetts had a tobacco age of 21. Virginia became the seventh state last week.