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Texas Lawmakers Try Again To Raise Minimum Smoking Age

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - This may be the year that lawmakers in the state of Texas pass a measure raising the smoking age from 19 to 21 years old.

State Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) says this is the fourth or fifth time that he's tried to get the bill through. During an earlier session the measure passed in the senate and now Uresti is hoping to again get bipartisan support.

"With the majority of the senate being made up of republicans… and of course they still control the senate and the house and the top three leadership positions. So we're gonna need everybody's assistance in order to pass this bill."

Uresti said there is no way he could have had the limited success he did without republican support. Because I couldn't have done it with just with the democrats -- there were only 11 democrats," he recalled. "So I needed republicans to vote for the bill, which they did."

This session Uresti is more optimistic now that some of his colleagues have signed on. "I feel encouraged that some of my colleagues from the other side of the isle have decided to file their own bills as well, and join in supporting mine," he said.

Dr. and republican State Representative John Zerwas (R-Richmond) will spearhead the effort in the house. Republican Senator Joan Huffman will offer a similar bill in the senate.

Uresti says the longer you can keep someone from lighting up the greater the chance they'll never smoke.

Senate Bill 183 would raise the legal age to purchase, possess, or consume tobacco and nicotine products in Texas from 18 to 21 years of age.

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