The House Health and Welfare Committee is expected to vote on a bill on Wednesday that would raise the age to purchase or possess tobacco from 18 to 21 years old. The sponsor of the bill, West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman, says raising the age could prevent potential young smokers from ever picking up a pack of cigarettes.

“Different statistics show that if you don’t start until you are 21, over 20 percent of the people who would have smoked would never ever smoke.”

The bill would also prevent those under 21 from buying vaping products.

Hoffman says the Bayou State would not be breaking any ground as 11 other states have enacted similar laws.

“The other states have done it and it seems to be working well. The federal government looked at the possibility as well so it is pretty popular everywhere.”

Hoffman says the goal of the legislation is to reduce the number of smokers which would create healthcare benefits that cannot be ignored.

“It is going to make healthcare better and save literally billions of dollars in healthcare long term so we are very hopeful.”