KENTUCKY (KFVS) - If passed by the House, a new Kentucky bill would ban smoking for anyone under 21.
House Bill 299 would take effect August 1 if it became law.
Currently anyone 18 and older can legally buy tobacco and vapor products, including electronic cigarettes, in the state.
Under the bill, penalties for selling tobacco products to those under age would stay the same for retailers, who now face fines of $100-$500 for a first violation and $500-$1,000 for subsequent violations. The bill would impose new penalties for those buying such products under age: $100-$500 for each violation with punishment for youth under age 18 handled in juvenile court.
Only Hawaii has raised the legal smoking age to 21 so far, according to Rep. David Watkins (D-Henderson), who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Joni Jenkins (D-Shively).
Rep. Tim Moore (R-Elizabethtown) said he would like those who are age 18 and older who either serve or have served in the U.S. military to be exempt.
Watkins said he has great respect for the military, but doesn't feel like they should make an exception.
"I think if we want to really do them a favor, we'll help them to stop smoking," he said.
HB 229 will go to the House for consideration.