BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A bill that would have raised the smoking age died in the state capitol Thursday, May 23.
It would have made it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under 21, unless they were first responders or members of the military. Some lawmakers asked if the state should also place an age restriction on soft drinks and junk food. Health groups like the American Heart Association (AHA) also opposed the bill, saying it lacked the teeth to make sure the law would be enforced.
“Across the nation, big tobacco and Juul are pushing tobacco 21 policies. The Heart Association and other public health organizations, we support the intent of the legislation, but without the effective enforcement mechanism on the retailer, it doesn’t work,” said Ashley Hebert with the American Heart Association.
The bill’s author said he brought forth the measure to try to slow down a teen vaping epidemic. Another bill that would increase fines on retailers who sell to underage kids is still alive in the Senate.