Last month, Senate Bill 1087, which proposed raising the legal age at which one can purchase tobacco products and safer nicotine alternatives such as e-cigarettes from 18 to 21, was passed to the House of Representatives. In the not so distant past past, the Idaho Senate had killed a similar legislation.
The House killed the bill on Tuesday, with a vote of 40-28 against the measure.
Currently, the legal tobacco age is already set at 21 by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the federal level. Supporters of the bill said that Idaho retail stores are already abiding by federal law, but state law needs to be changed in order to avoid confusion and standardize the rule.
Meanwhile, opponents of the bill argued that the legislation could prevent local leaders from banning smoking in parks, to which bill supporters replied that the ability for cities and towns to do that would still be enabled by other sections of the Idaho law.
“We are not trying to stop anyone from saying where you can and can’t smoke,” Pam Eaton of the Idaho Retailers Association told lawmakers. “We’re just trying to make uniform the laws retailers have to follow.”
Do age limits work?
The House killed the bill on Tuesday, with a vote of 40-28 against the measure. Some experts argue that setting in place age limits is counterproductive, as they only push minors to obtain these substances illegally, at times from the black market where they are unregulated and possibly unsafe.