Cigarette buying age in Texas may soon be raised - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Cigarette buying age in Texas may soon be raised

Texas - There's a push to reduce teen smoking across Texas.

A proposed bill, that would raise the buying age to 21 instead of 18, is currently pending before a legislative committee.

If passed, Texas would have the highest cigarette buying age in the nation.

It has the potential to cut 1.6 billion dollars in Medicaid costs for providing health care to people with smoking-related illnesses.

Texas charges a $1.41 tax on a package of 20 cigarettes.

But one big concern is that by increasing the age requirement, we could see a decline in sales and reduction in revenue by $40 million dollars annually.

In response, the author of the bill, Senator Carlos Uresti of San Antonio, says the estimate doesn't take into account possible cost savings from reducing the number of smokers.

Statistics from the U.S. Surgeon General show about 600,000 middle-school students and 3 million high school students smoke cigarettes.

Which is why policies to reduce teen smoking are being urged.

Right now Uresti and his staff are working with the legislative board to come up with better estimates.

An explanation of how reduced tax collections would be recouped is needed.

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