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Relating to the distribution, possession, purchase, consumption, and receipt of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco products.
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB 21, As Engrossed:
a negative impact of ($5,116,109) through the biennium ending August 31, 2021. There could also
an impact to court cost collections, however this cannot be determined because the number of
fines that would be assessed under the new provisions is unknown.
Additionally, the bill will have a direct impact of a revenue loss to the Property Tax Relief
Fund of ($3,370,000) for the 2020-21 biennium. Any loss to the Property Tax Relief Fund
must be made up with an equal amount of General Revenue to fund the Foundation School
SB 21 would require stores to ID anyone appearing under the age of 30 for purchasing a tobacco or e-cigarette product. The bill would also change the legal age to purchase cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or tobacco products from 18 to 21. This only applies to people born after Aug. 31, 2001.
The bill would make an exception for individuals who are 18 years of age and purchased a tobacco product with a valid military ID; allowing military personnel to purchase tobacco before the age of 21.
Texas Action recommends opposing SB 21 because it infringes upon principles of individual liberty, free markets, personal responsibility, and limited government. In Texas, the age of majority is 18. The rights and responsibilities of adulthood should be conferred upon an individual upon reaching the age of majority. That includes the right to make poor choices and engage in risky behavior.
For context, it may be helpful to consider this non-exhaustive list of risky and life-altering things a person may do or be held responsible for in Texas without parental consent once they reach the age of 18: pay taxes, get married, enter into an enforceable contract, become a non-armed security guard, buy a house, obtain a commercial pilot certificate, vote for our elected leaders, be elected district attorney, be elected sheriff, serve drinks in a bar, join a fire department, work on an oil rig, take out a loan, get a credit card, get a tattoo, operate heavy machinery, board an international flight, go skydiving, make medical decisions, be admitted to the Texas State Bar, be tried as an adult, and be sentenced to death.
To be clear; if this legislation is enacted, Texas will still execute a person for a capitol crime committed at the age of 18, 19, or 20 but will not allow an 18, 19, or 20 year old adult to purchase tobacco products.
If the Texas legislature wishes to revise the age of majority for the purposes of purchasing tobacco, it should do so for the other things as well. If a person is a child for the purpose of buying tobacco, that same person should be treated as a child for the purposes of interacting with the criminal justice system, signing enforceable contracts, voting for our elected leaders, getting married, taking on debt, or making other life-altering decisions.
We encourage the Texas legislature to reject this attempt to infantilize young adults by taking away their ability to make certain adult decisions while still being subject to adult consequences for their actions.