This session of the Louisiana Legislature has been dealing a lot with things that go up in smoke. No, I'm not talking about our tax dollars, although you could probably make a pretty good case for that belief. I am speaking of current legislation involving inhalable cannabis and of course, tobacco.

Yesterday a bill that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and vaping products cleared the House Judiciary Committee. That legislation which was greenlighted by a vote of eight to two would raise the minimum purchase age from 18 years old to 21 years old.

Those who support the legislation believe raising the minimum purchase age on vaping and tobacco products will help curtail the use of those products by our state's younger citizens. Supporters cited a higher incidence of tobacco, vaping, and nicotine-related suspensions from the state's high schools, junior high schools, and even middle schools over the past several years.

What I, and perhaps many of you might be wondering is this, didn't President Donald Trump sign federal legislation that raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products to 21 in December of 2019?

According to the Louisiana Department of Health website:

On Dec. 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, raising the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes, to anyone under 21.

Okay, y'all help me out here, why do we need to pass a state law that is already "trumped" no pun intended by federal law?

Perhaps our legislators are smoking something else while they are taking valuable legislative time to pass laws that have already been passed?

Regardless, it sure looks like if you want to smoke or use tobacco or nicotine-related products you'll need to be 21 to purchase. If you're not 21, you should be told by your local retailer that selling tobacco products to you would be a violation of the law. I guess if this state legislation passes you'd be in violation of laws on the state and federal level.

Maybe our lawmakers need to go ahead and pass those cannabis laws, perhaps that could help this make a little more sense. In the meantime, you can rest assured that this proposed legislation isn't the only law that people in Louisiana might find confusing.

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