VA Senate approves legislation to raise tobacco purchasing age to 21

Posted at 11:13 PM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-29 23:18:50-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- It's a bill that is creating a lot of smoke across the Commonwealth.

"I'm in agreement with it" said Tameika McCoy. "I don't agree with it," added Philip White.

The legislation that would raise the age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21.

"I don't think you should raise it to 21, I think you should lower it actually to 16," said 18-year-old Jame Bankston.

The bill was passed Tuesday by the Senate with a vote of 32-8. CBS 6 we took to the streets of Richmond to see what people thought.

"You're 18, you're old enough to make your own decisions, you can join the army. You can make bad decisions and be held responsible. You should be able to buy cigarettes," said White.

"It won't eliminate the problem, but it will put a nice, what I like to call, dent in it," added McCoy. "So kids know hey I need to be a little bit older to smoke and it'll make it a little harder to get to."

VCU students who smoke from time to time think it should stay the same.

"I would definitely want to smoke at the age of 18 being in high school, coming to college learning all those disadvantages of tobacco." said Prad Poudyal.

Richmond based tobacco giant Altria told CBS 6 earlier this month, they support the legislation.

"That's awesome, I really didn't think that they would. That shows some responsibility on there part," said McCoy.

The bill must pass through the House side next. It is currently sitting in the committee level. If passed, it will head to Governor Northam's desk, something he has expressed his support of in the past.