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Tobacco Buying Age Talks in the United States

The regulation introduced in February 2013 in Texas would make the second largest U.S. state to be the innovator in increasing the legal buying age for all tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Tobacco buying age in Texas

Such a step would reduce $1.5 billion regarding Medicaid charges for presenting medical care to smoking people, as outlined by Texas Senator Carlos Uresti. He said: “Texas spends vast sums to provide healthcare for the people with tobacco-related diseases”. “Maybe the state can be a pioneer on this matter.”

Earlier four states, such as Utah, Alabama, New Jersey and Alaska, raised the tobacco buying age to 19, when other states have continued to preserve the age at 18.

As indicated by Maggie Mahoney, Tobacco Control Legal Consortium deputy director, increasing the tobacco buying age “could really influence on smoking rate. By decreasing the smoking rate in the age group of 18, fewer youngsters will become hooked on cigarettes.”

The excise tax on cigarettes in Texas is $1.41 per pack. According to the state’s Legislative Budget Board, the buying age increase could have an influence on tax income collection by $40 million yearly. Lawmakers could be silent to give up the income due to “doubt about education funding and other high price systems,” stated Matt Mackowiak, president of Potomac Strategy Group.

Even so, state Senator Uresti disagrees with the $40 million estimate as he doesn’t consider achievable financial savings from minimizing the number of smoking people.

Karmen Hanson, a National Conference of State Legislatures program manager, said that several states propose to raise the tobacco buying age annually. But, no state has followed since 2006.

“There is also a freedom aspect,” Mackowiak said, adding, “You’re an adult when you are 18.”


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