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State lawmakers approve bill increasing tobacco buying age

Texas lawmakers passed legislation that could increase the age to buy tobacco products.

Senate Bill 21 aimed to increase the tobacco sales age from 18 to 21.

Paso del Norte Health Foundation Program Officer Bianca De Leon said most people under 18 acquire tobacco products from peers who are 18 to 20.

“This is really going to reduce access to young people in our community,” said De Leon. “Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the country.”

De Leon said using tobacco products at a young age can lead to health concerns.

“The brain doesn’t stop developing until you’re age 25,” said De Leon. “If you start using tobacco products under the age of 21 you are more likely to be a lifelong tobacco user.’

A recent study found e-cigarette flavors can damage cells in your blood vessels — and even lead to heart problems.

But advocates say vaping is an important tool in getting adults to put down normal cigarettes.

De Leon says vaping devices use a salt-based nicotine which can be harsher for health .

“Kids are actually inhaling much more than your cigarette or your pack of cigarettes, so they are consuming more.”

Senate Bill 21 was sent to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk on Saturday. The bill does not apply to active military members.

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