Indiana may toughen retailer penalties with 21 smoking age

Regional News

FILE – This Aug. 28, 2017 file photo shows cigarettes displayed on a store shelf in New York. With a new law enacted in December 2019, anyone under 21 can no longer legally buy cigarettes, cigars or any other tobacco products in the U.S. It also applies to electronic cigarettes and vaping products that heat a liquid containing nicotine. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers are looking to toughen the penalties stores face for selling tobacco products to underaged customers as they raise the state’s minimum age for smoking and vaping from 18 to 21 to conform with the new federal law.

A proposal being backed by anti-smoking advocates would also eliminate the possible fines against minors caught with tobacco or electronic cigarettes, saying those aren’t fair to youths who’ve perhaps become addicted.

Proposals to raise Indiana’s smoking age have failed to advance for several years but the federal law change adopted by Congress in December has taken the controversy out of the issue.

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