Delaware Governor, Lawmakers Kick Off Push to Hike Age to Buy To - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Governor, Lawmakers Kick Off Push to Hike Age to Buy Tobacco to 21

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DOVER, Del.- In an ideal situation, Delaware Gov. John Carney believes no one would smoke cigarettes.

"Is that realistic? Maybe not. But in a perfect world? Yeah," he said.

With that in mind, Carney said during a news conference on Tuesday that he'll certainly settle for passage of Senate Bill 25, which raises the legal age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21.

"So many of the cardiovascular diseases and heart trouble and death from cardiovascular problems are from smoking. It's just a killer," he said.

Supporters said the legislation will reduce the availability of cigarettes and other tobacco products that are often obtained by people who are at least 18 years old but given to minors.

Deborah Brown with the American Lung Association, a participant in Tuesday's news conference, said in an interview that tobacco-related diseases drive up the cost of healthcare.

The state estimates that cost to Delawareans as a whole is more than half a billion dollars each year.

"A lot of young people are now using these particular tobacco products and they don't understand that there are health consequences associated with it," she said.

Mike Maloney, a 19-year-old smoker from Dover, is opposed to the legislation, which would block him from being able to buy cigarettes.

"Let people be who they are. I mean, if you're able to vote, if you're able to join the military, I don't see why smoking should be on the list, too," he said.

Some Republican lawmakers have already expressed opposition or concerns about the legislation.

House Minority Leader Danny Short (R-Seaford) said he thinks many Delawareans who may be old enough to buy cigarettes in Maryland will just take a quick trip across the border.

"Someone that really wants to smoke--they're going to just ride a few miles," he said. "From my house it would be seven miles to Maryland and (they would) come back."

 

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