Bill To Raise Smoking Age To 21 Headed To Governor

Mar 12, 2020

Indiana's legal age to smoke and vape will soon be 21, in alignment with federal law.
Credit Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana’s legal age to smoke and vape will soon be 21, in alignment with federal law.

Legislation sent to the governor Wednesday also increases fines on retailers who sell to those underage.

Federal law already raised the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, so House and Senate lawmakers this session haggled over issues like how much to penalize retailers.

The compromise? Doubling the fines – $400 for the first infraction, with up to $2,000 if they’re caught doing it three or more times in one year.

Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) says she hopes those fines are a deterrent.

“The big retailers – those names that we know very well – take this very seriously and so, they have assured me that their hiring practices are that … if an employee offends this new law that they will take swift and appropriate action,” Kirchhofer says.

The bill says retailers must card anyone who looks younger than 27.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.