Violating the new Smoking Law Raises Penalties for Retailers who don’t Comply

Statewide (NNDC):

Increased enforcement of the new tobacco with an age limit of 21 warns retailers who repeatedly sell to minors they could lose their license to sell tobacco for breaking the law. Before reaching that point, fines would be higher, with the penalty for a first violation more than doubled, from 200 dollars to a minimum of 500.

Most of the debate in the House focused on the part of the bill that’s already federal law: raising the minimum age for smoking and vaping from 18 to 21. 

14 House Republicans voted against raising the age as an infringement on personal freedom. Seymour Representative Jim Lucas half-seriously suggested the bill opens the door to a “war on cheeseburgers” to roll back obesity-related illnesses. And he argues it’s unfair to allow 18 year olds are able to be part of the military and serve our country yet not be allowed to smoke.

Studies have concluded that smoking is a leading cause of premature birth, which makes it a major factor in Indiana’s chronically high infant mortality rates. Making cigarettes harder to get at an early age improves the odds of keeping prospective mothers tobacco-free.

The Senate could pass its own version as soon as Thursday, but the two chambers still have to agree on a single final version.