STATEHOUSE (Jan. 21, 2020) – State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer’s (R-Beech Grove) bill to decrease Indiana’s smoking and vaping rates advanced out of the House of Representatives Tuesday.
Kirchhofer’s legislation would align Indiana’s smoking age with a new federal law raising the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21, including e-cigarettes and vaping products. She said tobacco use is the cause of more than 12,500 premature deaths each year in Indiana, including approximately 1,300 nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke.
“Indiana currently has the seventh-highest adult smoking rate in the country,” said Kirchhofer, chair of the House Public Health Committee. “With nearly every Hoosier smoker trying their first cigarette before 21, this proposal could go a long way in lowering our smoking rates.”
The most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey shows nearly a third of current high school e-cigarette users use them 20 days or more per month. Kirchhofer said some have even marketed e-cigarettes as a safer way to help curb traditional tobacco use.
“With so many Hoosiers unaware of the potential health risks associated with e-cigarettes, and some even believing these are a healthier alternative to smoking, it is critical we call these products what they are: tobacco,” Kirchhofer said. “Too many young Hoosiers can easily access these potentially dangerous devices, with substances that have been tied to serious illness and even death.”
Kirchhofer’s proposal would also increase penalties for businesses that sell tobacco products to underage consumers.
House Bill 1006 is now eligible for further consideration by the Senate. Visit iga.in.gov to learn more.
Hoosiers needing help to quit tobacco should contact Indiana’s Tobacco Quitline at in.gov/quitline or 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) represents House District 89,
which includes portions of Marion County.
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