Legislation raising the legal age to buy or possess tobacco, alternative nicotine, or vapor products to 21 won Kentucky Senate approval Thursday. The measure, which falls in line with newly enacted federal law, moves on the House.
Winchester Senator and physician Ralph Alvarado said a teenager’s brain is still undergoing development. “Nicotine also impairs the parts of the brain responsible for making decisions, controlling impulses and governing behavior. It also primes the developing brain for addiction to other illicit substances and reducing teen exposure to nicotine will improve youth health,” said Alvarado.
Casting one of the ten no votes was Will Schroder of northern Kentucky. While saying there are good intentions in the bill, his philosophical opposition is based on the fact that 18 year olds currently can serve in the military and see felony charges placed against them. “Here we are saying that you’re not able to buy a pack of cigarettes or vape. I know a lot of people would compare it to alcohol. And my response would be with alcohol there can be immediate impairment that can affect others on the road. We don’t have that situation here,” noted Schroder.
Louisville Senator Julie Raque Adams voted yes, saying she was proud of the bipartisan broad based effort to protect kids.
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