HARRISBURG (KDKA) — Ohio recently raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 and Pennsylvania could be next.
Legislation was introduced by Representative Marty Flynn and co-sponsored by Representative Dan Frankel that would effectively raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.
House Bill 536, An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in minors, further providing for sale of tobacco, was introduced in December 2018 and referred to the committee on health on March 1, 2019.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 36.5 million adults in the United States smoke cigarettes,” Rep, Flynn said in a memo. “The CDC also cites that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, which accounts for more than 480,000 deaths a year, or 1 of every 5 deaths. Therefore, enabling our young people to have access to a product that has been medically proven to have more harmful effects than alcohol, a product which an individual must be 21 years old to have legal access, seems not only contradictory but imprudent on our part as lawmakers.”
If passed, Pennsylvania would join 15 other states along with Washington D.C. to put a law on the books raising the age to 21.