(INDIANAPOLIS) – Stores who sell cigarettes to minors will face tougher penalties in Indiana.
Legislators have finalized the bill doubling the fines for selling to underage buyers. Those fines go up for repeat offenses within a year — under current law, the clock would reset after just six months. And the bill fixes Indiana law to get in sync with the new federal smoking and vaping age of 21.
House Public Health Chairwoman Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Indianapolis) says most smokers pick up the habit as teenagers. She says increasing the penalties for selling to them should get the attention of stores which have been lax about carding customers, and will make teenagers less likely to start.
The bill requires a thousand-foot buffer zone between smoke shops and schools, in another effort to reduce teenagers’ access. And like liquor stores, smoke shops would be barred from even letting anyone under 21 through the door.
The new age limits and penalties for cigarette sales apply to e-liquids as well.
Governor Holcomb made the bill one of his priorities for the session, even before Congress moved to raise the age nationally.