Lawmakers propose raising smoking & vaping age to 21

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Several Tennessee lawmakers are pushing to increase the minimum age to buy tobacco or vaping products from 18 to 21.

Lawmakers hope this legislation will ban usage in schools and restaurants.

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News 12’s Taylor Bishop has the story.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says vaping is creating a new generation of nicotine addicts. In fact, 15- to-17-year-olds are more than 16 times more likely to be JUULing.

“I think it’s very important, I think vaping is just as bad as cigarettes.”

Rex Henry Smoke Stack owner stopped selling JUUlng products to cut down on the possibilities of it getting in the hands of minors.

“Well the most popular thing for the teenagers is they like to use the JUUL pods. We actually don’t carry the JUUL for that particular reason, because we don’t want them smoking. They are not old enough.”

Senate Bill 26 Sponsored by Senator Todd Gardenhire and Representative Dan Howell, treats the vaping of flavor-infused nicotine vapor the same as tobacco products which are already prohibited some schools and restaurants.

The bill would annually cost the state $7 million and local governments $1 million through lost sales tax revenues.

“We believe that if you are an adult you can make one decision but as children you shouldn’t be making any decisions for their health without proper information”

The lawmakers say educators have told them that vaping has caused discipline problems and general disruption.

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