El Paso, TX - There will be a new state law on the books as of September 1st that raises the legal smoking age in Texas from 18 to 21.
The law includes two grandfather clauses.
Those clauses cover members of the military and people who have already turned 18 as of September 1st.
Nearly 40 local vendors attended a Wednesday information session about the new law and what it will mean for their businesses.
“95% of smokers start before the age of 21," said Bianca de Leon of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. "If they start that early they are likely to be life long smokers. That starts to have negative health consequences on cardiovascular and respiratory systems. ”
Compliance checks will be handled by the sheriffs department however store owners must be ready to help with enforcement.
“Our systems are already set for 21 year-olds," said Klemme Enterprises General Manager Zachary Cowley. "These new scanners will be able to tell us if the person is under the age of 21 or over the age or weather they are allowed cause of the 2 grandfather clauses.“
The law is pretty thorough as the purchase, use and possession of cigarettes and tobacco vape products will become illegal with hefty monetary fines and penalties being put in place both for buyers and store owners.
Over a dozen other states including Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Ohio have already pushed the smoking age up to 21.
For anyone else interested learning more about the new law, a complete kit can be downloaded here