Will this be the new smoking age in Iowa?

Smoking 1A bill offered last week in the Iowa Senate aims to get all tobacco products out of Iowa schools, but in the process, it’s likely to anger a lot of adults.

Senate Study Bill 1109, proposed by the Senate Education Committee chaired by Sen. Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames), has been titled the Keep Tobacco Out of Iowa High Schools Act. If approved this session, the proposed legislation would go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

SSB 1109 would prohibit the sale, transfer, or possession of tobacco, tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, vapor products, and cigarettes to anyone younger than 19 years of age. The bill also prohibits the sale of such products through vending machines, unless the vendors operating the machines can ensure no one under the age of 19 would have access to the machines.

Those who are 18 years of age prior to enactment of the proposed legislation – if it were to become law – would be exempted. That provision could cause considerable confusion for retailers who sell tobacco products.

School Administrators of Iowa is in favor of SSB 1109, while the Iowa Retail Federation is opposed to the bill. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Welmark Inc., the Coalition for Family and Children’s Services in Iowa, Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home, the Clear Air For Everyone Citizens Action Network, the RAI Service Company, the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, the Iowa Medical Society, the Iowa Primary Care Association, the Iowa Behavioral Health Association, and Iowans for Alternatives to Smoking and Tobacco are all undecided.