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Senate Bill 1087 — Tobacco, age

Senate Bill 1087 — Tobacco, age

Parrish Miller
February 11, 2021

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1087 prohibits adults aged 18-20 from purchasing and using tobacco products.

Rating: -3

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?

Senate Bill 1087 modifies multiple sections of Idaho code related to tobacco products to redefine the term "minor" to refer to someone under 21 years of age. This change limits the ability of legal adults to purchase or use tobacco products by retroactively reclassifying them as "minors." 


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?

In addition to restricting the rights of those reclassified as "minors" for the purpose of buying or using tobacco, Senate Bill 1087 prevents businesses from selling these products to willing adult customers who are not yet 21 years of age.


Senate Bill 1087 amends section 39-5713, Idaho Code, to preempt most local regulations on tobacco sales.. This would prevent the local governments from imposing taxes and fees on tobacco sellers. Unfortunately, it does not preempt local regulation of tobacco users.


Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

Senate Bill 1087 makes it an infraction for newly redefined adult "minors" to possess, receive, purchase, use, consume, sell, distribute, or lie about their age to obtain tobacco products or electronic smoking devices. A second offense for some of these actions will be a misdemeanor, with the possibility of incarceration. 


Does it violate the principles of federalism by increasing federal authority, yielding to federal blandishments, or incorporating changeable federal laws into Idaho statutes or rules? Examples include citing federal code without noting as it is written on a certain date, using state resources to enforce federal law, and refusing to support and uphold the Tenth Amendment. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the principles of federalism?

The excuse for reclassifying adults as "minors" as found in Senate Bill 1087's statement of purpose is to make the state "consistent with federal law." In Printz v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not compel states to enforce federal law. This means that state and local law enforcement in Idaho are not required to enforce the federal government's preference that adults aged 18-20 not purchase, possess, or consume tobacco. Senate Bill 1087 creates state-level offenses out of personal choices — made by adults — that are presently legal in Idaho. 


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