New bill would raise age limit to buy tobacco in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

New bill would raise age limit to buy tobacco in Michigan

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MICHIGAN, (WNEM) -

A new bill would raise the age limit to buy tobacco in Michigan.  

The legislation introduced by Rep. Tommy Brann would ban stores from selling cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and hookah tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.

Those caught selling tobacco to a minor would face a fine, with first time offenders paying up to $2,500 and second time offenders paying up to $5,000.

In Genesee County, a tobacco ban for those under the age of 21 was supposed to take effect in May, but it was put on hold until a hearing on June 19 with a county judge.

Supporters of the bill said the ban is for the greater good as most tobacco addiction begins before the age of 21, therefore people would live longer, healthier lives.

Those who oppose the bill said it could hurt some local businesses. 

"People are going to get the tobacco products no matter what and that's going to put the store owners at risk and people buying it," said Timothy Shampine, resident.

Shampine said people in Michigan will find a way to get the tobacco products they want. He just hopes the state legislature doesn't move forward with the bill.

"If they're old enough to go and fight and die for our country and protect the freedom of all the rest of us citizens over here, I think it's great. It's their choice," Shampine said.

Lindsay Pekala works at the Head Shop Plus Tobacco in Flint. The shop is frequented by tobacco and medical marijuana users.

She can understand why lawmakers would want to ban cigarette sales, but she would like for it to stop there.

"It would probably effect business a little bit, but I think it should only be like cigarettes and tobacco. But not as far as pipes and bongs because you only have to be 18 to do that," Pekala said.

The bill's language as proposed also included tobacco paraphernalia.

Pekala feels the proposal would encourage people to obtain tobacco products illegally.

"It would go back into everyone asking someone else to buy it for them because they have this, but they can't do it without that," Pekala said.

To read the full bill, click here

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