Bill to raise Indiana smoking age advances

INDIANAPOLIS (WNDU) - Ninety-five percent of lifetime smokers start before the age of 21. That was the stated reason behind a bill to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco in Indiana.

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Senate Bill 425 would also apply to the purchase of e-liquids that contain nicotine.

The minimum purchase age is now 18, and the bill would raise that to age 21.

“We're outraged by the opioid crisis and we're outraged when people die of overdoses, but death from tobacco, there's no outrage, it’s just a fact of life, isn't it?” Dr. Richard Feldman of the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians told members of the Indiana Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services. “According to internal tobacco industry documents, if a man has never smoked by age 18, the odds are 3-1 he never will. By age 24, the odds are 20-1.”

The most common criticism of the bill Wednesday dealt with a provision that would exempt members of the military from the change.