Bill description: SB 1255 would raise the tobacco age limit for the legal sale of tobacco from 18 to 21.
Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?
SB 1255 would increase the minimum legal age for the purchase, use, or possession of tobacco products. The minimum age would increase from 18 to 21. By setting a higher age, the state will be forbidding adults and businesses from engaging in consensual transactions.
In the United States, it is generally accepted (culturally and in statute) that when individuals reach the age of 18 they are considered responsible for their own actions and can make decisions for themselves. Our country trusts adults at the age of 18 to decide whether to join the military, and risk their lives, yet, SB 1255 would forbid them, 18, 19, and 20 year olds, from making the choice whether or not to use tobacco products.
Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?
Currently, if a tobacco retailer sells a tobacco product to a minor the penalty for each offense is as follows:
First offense - written notification of subsequent penalties and infraction
Second offense - $200 fine and notification of subsequent penalties and infraction
Third offense (in a two-year period) - $200 fine and permit revocation for up to 7 days and infraction
Fourth offense (in a two-year period) - $400 fine and permit revocation of at least 30 days and infraction
Under SB 1255, the penalty would be raised from a mere infraction to a misdemeanor. The penalties would be increased to a fine of $500 up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail for a first offense, and a $1,000-$2,000 penalty and up to one year in jail for a subsequent offense.
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