The impact of a possible tobacco age increase in San Angelo

Local News

SAN ANGELO, Texas – On Wednesday, the Texas House gave its final approval to Senate Bill 21.

This means, it’s now up to Governor Greg Abbott to decide on whether to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21 years old, in the Lone Star State.

We wanted to find out the direct impact this law would have on our community.

“Most of our customers are pretty young, so it could cause us to lose a lot of business. Most of our employees are younger than 21 so it could cause us to have to find a whole new staff, a whole new crew, and for me to possibly lose my job too,” explained Tianna Olivier, who is a Cashier at Smoker’s Outlet on North Chadbourne Street.

In the United States, data shows that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they even turned 21.

“People have told me they were getting cigarettes for their parents and grandparents when they were only like 12 or 13, very young, and it wasn’t an issue back then,” claimed Olivier.

“I think kids probably smoke a lot younger than 18, so I don’t think the age is going to make a difference, if they want the cigarettes, I think they’re going to be still able to get them,” said Freddy Kelly Jr.

This measure would make Texas the 16th state in the U.S. to stop the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to those younger than 21 years of age.

However, many believe this law is long overdue.

“I agree, that they should change the age to 21,” stated Jason Jasso.

“I have recently battled a 15-year battle to quit and I am so happy to have quit, I wish I could have quit a long time ago,” said Alex Trufant.

The law will go into effect September 1st, if signed by the Governor and this measure does not apply to military personnel.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.