Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

House bill would jump tobacco age to 21; penalize buyers

PIERRE, S.D. – A South Dakota House committee has advanced a bill that would change state law to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. The initiative has one unlikely opponent – the American Cancer Society.

The bill follows recent federal law that raised the age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco products in December.

The federal law provides for stores to be fined or barred from selling tobacco for repeat violations.

The state law would penalize underage buyers or the clerks who sell to those buyers.

The American Cancer Society opposes the bill because it doesn’t target retailers.

A lobbyist for the group said punishing buyers hasn’t been proven to cut youth smoking.

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