Texas raises tobacco age to 21 as e-cigarette use grows among youth

Sep. 3, 2019

Kristin Hoppa

Waco Tribune-Herald

Everett Mason has been using vape pens since he was about 16 years old.

Now, the 18-year-old Hewitt resident will have to wait another three years before he can legally buy tobacco products, including his e-cigarettes, in the state of Texas.

“I really don’t think it’s going to change anything,” Mason said. “People are still going to smoke. It really isn’t going to matter.”

The new state law takes effect Sunday, along with more than 800 others recently passed. It raises the legal age from 18 to 21 for the sale, distribution, possession, purchase, consumption or receipt of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, dip or any other tobacco products. According to the anti-smoking coalition website texas21.org, about 95% of smokers start before the age of 21.

E-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth since 2014, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Last year, 20.8% of high school students surveyed in the United States reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, a 9.1% increase from the previous year, according to the department.

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