“Smoking Age” bill takes another step

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 2:19 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The North Dakota Senate passed SB 2156, which brings the state’s smoking age to 21.

Recently, the federal smoking age was raised to 21, which led to many states having conflicting ages.

More than 30 states have already brought up their smoking ages to 21 to be in compliance with the federal age.

The bill passed, but not without opposition. Opposers said 18-year-olds already have voting and other rights.

Supporters said there is a possibility North Dakota could lose federal funds for behavioral health programs if the state didn’t raise the age.

“We all know that if a high school student gets caught using tobacco products, they are suspended from all extracurricular activities for six weeks. And a second offense, they are suspended for an entire year. It seems we ought to recognize what our schools have recognized, and change our laws accordingly,” Sen. Michael Dwyer, R-Bismarck, said.

While tobacco use amongst teens is trending down, the use of vaping products is replacing tobacco. Lawmakers said they hope this bill will bring both down amongst teens.

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