Indiana House backs tougher rules for tobacco retailers

Stores across Indiana would face tougher penalties for selling tobacco products to anyone younger than 21 under a bill endorsed Tuesday by the Indiana House.

Posted: Jan 22, 2020 12:55 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Stores across Indiana would face tougher penalties for selling tobacco products to anyone younger than 21 under a bill endorsed Tuesday by the Indiana House.

The additional penalties are part of a bill increasing Indiana’s minimum age for smoking and vaping from 18 to 21 to conform with a new federal law.

The proposal would boost the fine against a retailer for a first violation from a $200 maximum to a minimum of $500. The penalties would increase until a third violation within three years, which would carry a minimum $1,000 fine and a three-year loss of the store’s tobacco sales certificate.

House members voted 84-14 in favor of the bill. The Senate is considering its own bill with different changes to the penalties.

Supporters argue the tougher penalties are needed to crack down on retailers selling to youths when they are most likely to pick up a smoking or vaping habit.

“I promise you when we stand here in 10 more years our numbers will be down and we will see less lung disease and less lung cancer,” said Republican Rep. Ann Vermilion of Marion, a former hospital administrator.

Anti-smoking advocates had supported a provision in the House bill to eliminate the possible fines against minors caught with tobacco or electronic cigarettes, saying those aren’t fair to youths who may have become addicted. But House members voted last week to keep those possible penalties against minors as part of state law.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115407

Reported Deaths: 3566
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21196765
Lake10493323
Elkhart6528110
St. Joseph6392106
Allen6178202
Hamilton4848109
Vanderburgh360930
Hendricks2715123
Monroe256036
Tippecanoe239113
Johnson2305123
Clark221457
Porter213647
Delaware194262
Cass19419
Vigo182526
Madison164375
LaPorte142340
Floyd135862
Howard130563
Warrick128038
Kosciusko121617
Bartholomew116457
Marshall100824
Dubois96919
Boone96846
Hancock92143
Grant91934
Noble90832
Henry79826
Wayne75414
Jackson7499
Morgan71638
Shelby67229
Daviess66328
Dearborn66028
LaGrange63411
Clinton59914
Harrison57624
Putnam56412
Knox5159
Gibson5114
Lawrence51129
Montgomery50821
White48514
DeKalb47611
Decatur45839
Miami4353
Greene42435
Fayette42113
Jasper3942
Steuben3807
Scott37311
Sullivan33712
Posey3240
Jennings31312
Franklin30725
Clay3005
Ripley2968
Orange28824
Carroll27413
Whitley2707
Washington2651
Wabash2648
Starke2637
Adams2613
Wells2614
Jefferson2483
Spencer2413
Fulton2382
Huntington2363
Tipton22622
Perry22113
Randolph2167
Jay1800
Newton17311
Owen1681
Martin1640
Rush1554
Pike1471
Vermillion1280
Fountain1232
Blackford1193
Pulaski1131
Crawford1050
Brown1043
Parke962
Benton880
Ohio787
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Switzerland690
Warren391
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