Senate passes bill to raise age to purchase tobacco to 21

The state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would raise the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 with a 28 to 10 vote.

Senate Bill 56, sponsored by Sen. Ralph Alvarado, would put Kentucky in compliance with the new federal law which also raises the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21. While the federal legislation puts the policy into effect, the enforcement and penalties are handled at the state level. Senate Bill 56 also takes out provisions to punish youth who possess or use but instead puts the focus on retailers and other ways Kentucky children are obtaining the products.

Alvarado stated in committee 95 percent of daily smokers started before the age of 21 and this legislation will be able to slash the number of kids who start using, cut down on access to the products, and lower addiction.

Senate Bill 56 now moves to the House to be heard in committee.

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