Tobacco 21 Bill Advances in Pennsylvania

The Senate has approved a bill raising the minimum purchase age, and House support is growing.

September 27, 2019

HARRISBURG, Penn.—A bill that would increase the tobacco-buying age to 21 has passed the Pennsylvania Senate, with strong indicators that the House would support it as well, WITF-FM reports.

State Sen. Mario Scavello, sponsor of the legislation, viewed the change as essential to helping younger teens not start smoking, Penn Live reports. “The difference is you have a little bit more time to think about the bad habit that you can [pick up] at a young age,” he said. “By delaying it you are really delaying a decision that that young man or young lady might not make in the future.”

This is the first time a Tobacco 21 measure has made it through a chamber in 10 years, sailing through the Senate with only six detractors. A similar bill has been introduced in the House. A House spokesman said the proposal is under consideration and has garnered a favorable response thus far.

Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated he would sign a Tobacco 21 bill. If the measure passes, Pennsylvania would join nearby Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia and 13 other states that have or will soon have 21 as the minimum tobacco-buying age. Colorado is also considering raising its state minimum tobacco-purchase age.