Louisianans must be 21 before they can purchase tobacco or vapor products.
Governor John Bel Edwards signed that bill into law Wednesday, aligning the state with federal laws.
HB 473, authored by Representative Buddy Mincey, made its way through the legislative session.
Some stores would sell to people who are above the age of 18 prior to this law, but now, all businesses can only sell to those 21+.
KATC spoke with the secretary of the Louisiana Vaping Association, who says most vape shops are already there.
“I don’t think it’s going to affect businesses or vape shops because the vast majority of them have already switched, as many tobacco and cigars retailers have in Louisiana voluntarily switched over to the T21 without the state having to step in,” said Rogers.
Rogers says it could also impact those who are between the ages of 18 and 21 who are trying to quit cigarettes and looking for what he says is a safer alternative.
“It doesn’t allow them the opportunity to seek something better or alternative to smoking,” he explained.
The bill points out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration conducted a survey that showed that about 95 percent of adult smokers began smoking before turning 21 years of age and nearly eighty percent of them were daily smokers by the age of 21.
They also cite growing evidence about health problems related to tobacco and vapor use by youth, including severe illness and even deaths associated with vaping.
Rogers, however, says since a person is a legal adult at age of 18, a law like this goes against people’s freedom.
“Anything that we’re going to do to be more restrictive on a legal adult is anti-American,” he said. “It goes against our freedoms.”
Meanwhile, another bill dealing with substance has already been signed into law.
Also by Representative Mincey, HB 368 requires instruction in elementary and secondary schools on the health risks of vapor products; that law went into effect today.
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