November 18, 2019

Speaker Bosma Backs Raising Age To Smoke And Vape To 21

Article origination IPBS-RJC
House Speaker Brian Bosma.  - Brandon Smith/IPB News

House Speaker Brian Bosma.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he will personally push to increase the legal smoking and vaping age in Indiana from 18 to 21.

Health groups and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce have long pushed to raise the smoking and vaping age. But it hasn’t gotten far in the legislature.

Bosma himself was opposed to it for years – in part, he said, because he didn’t think it fair that Hoosiers could join the military at 18 but be banned from buying cigarettes. He says now his mind’s been changed.

“The armed forces themselves have asked us to do this," Bosma says. "They don’t allow their recruits to smoke in boot camp.”

READ MORE: Efforts To Reduce Smoking Sidelined During 2019 Legislative Session

Less likely to advance are proposals to increase the state’s cigarette tax or create a tax on vaping. Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) says that’s because 2020 isn’t a budget-writing session.

“If you open that up, you’ve essentially opened up the budget and that creates real complications," Bray says. "It’s probably not a very good time.”

Bosma says the vast majority of his caucus will back raising the smoking and vaping age.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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