Oklahoma lawmaker files bill to raise legal age for tobacco, vape products


US regulators have proposed limits on the amount of nicotine allowed in cigarettes. If enacted, the tobacco industry could lose $165 billion in profit within the next 15 years, according to a new report.

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ARDMORE, Okla. (KFOR) - An Oklahoma lawmaker is proposing a bill that would raise the legal age for those wanting to buy tobacco and vape products in the state.

Oklahoma Sen. Greg McCortney has filed legislation to mirror federal law that raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21.

Last month, Congress passed legislation that prohibits the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. Ultimately, President Donald Trump signed the Tobacco-Free Youth Act.

McCortney says Senate Bill 1423 makes sure that Oklahoma's statutes will mirror the new age requirements enacted at the federal level.

“Even though smoking rates are declining, it remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability,” McCortney said.  “Raising the age limit for tobacco products will help us prevent needless deaths, improve the quality of life for thousands of citizens and save millions of dollars in health care costs.”

Currently, the minimum age for tobacco sales and use is 18-years-old in Oklahoma. Under the bill, the minimum age would be raised to 21.

“While the federal government made this change in December, the fact is enforcement takes place at the state and local level,” McCortney said.  “In order to avoid confusion or ambiguity, it’s important that our state laws and programs are in line with the new federal age limits, ensuring clarity for the public, businesses, state agencies and law enforcement.”

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