Rep. Charlie Brown’s bill raising Indiana’s smoking age to 21 passes through Public Health Committee
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s smoking age would increase from 18 to 21 under legislation authored by State Representative Charlie Brown (D-Gary) that was approved today in an Indiana House committee.
House Bill 1380, passed in the Indiana House Public Health Committee, is Rep. Brown’s latest effort to reduce the hazardous effects of smoking among Hoosiers, particularly our young people.
Rep. Brown’s bill would raise the age of possession, sale, and purchase of cigarettes and any other tobacco products, from age 18 to age 21.
“Indiana received failing grades from the American Lung Association this year, with an ‘F’ in three of the five categories,” Rep. Brown said. “One of their recommendations to us was to raise the legal age of tobacco possession to 21, and I am glad to help fight the spread of addiction.”
Many people came to testify, including middle and high school students, an official from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and a former National Guard member.
“I am especially grateful for Dr. David Wolmot, a former National Guard Member, testifying in support of my bill,” Rep. Brown said. “He was able to make the point that reducing smoking can help reduce the premature discharge rate of soldiers, as well as improving their health.”
In its original form, Rep. Brown’s bill called for an increase in the state’s cigarette tax. That proposal was removed from the legislation by State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove), chair of the Public Health Committee.
“Of course, I would have preferred to include the tax increase, but I am not sure that this bill would have moved at all with that language in it,” Rep. Brown said. “This version still takes a significant step forward, and I am pleased that we are moving ahead on an issue that has been one of my priorities as a member of the Indiana House.”