In this Bill of the Day, it would attempt to change the legal age for the purchase of tobacco from 18 to 21.
HB 227 authored by Representative Clark will be known as the “Mississippi Tobacco Minimum Legal Sale Age of 21 Act.” The legislation offers reasoning for moving the age including that young people are most susceptible to addictive properties of tobacco products and are more likely to become lifelong users.
An estimated 5.6 million children up to 17 are projected to die too early from tobacco-related illnesses. Tobacco use also impacts the mind of young people, this includes electronic smoking devices which has tripled recently.
The bill reads:
Minimum legal sales age for tobacco products. The sale or distribution of any tobacco product to a person under the age of twenty-one (21) is prohibited. Age verification. Before distributing any tobacco product, the distributor must verify that the recipient is at least twenty-one (21) years of age. Each distributor shall examine the recipient’s government-issued photographic identification. No such verification is required for a person over the age of thirty (30). The fact that a recipient appeared to be thirty (30) years of age or older does not constitute a defense to a violation of this section.
This bill would apply to the use of all tobacco products including cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes. If violated by sellers, it could come with a $300 fine for the first offense, $600 for the second and $1,000 for each offense after the second.
The bill was referred to the Judiciary B and Public Health and Human Services committees.