AUSTIN, Texas — A bill that would allow tobacco age-dependent minors to smoke in public is set to pass the Texas House on Thursday, ending a yearlong battle over the issue in the Lone Star State.
The bill, which passed the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, would allow people under the age of 18 to smoke at restaurants, bars, stadiums, hotels, and other places that have been designated by the Department of Public Safety as smoke-free.
But it would also allow people who are not age-restricted to smoke.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors.
A similar bill that passed the state Senate earlier this year had stalled in the House until Gov.
Greg Abbott signed the bill into law.
In the Senate, a group of Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that was intended to limit the state’s tobacco smoking age to 18.
The legislation is expected to face a similar fate in the Senate.
The bills have been contentious for the past two years, with Republican lawmakers arguing that the age limit should be based on the risk of health complications and not based on public safety concerns.
Texas has one of the highest rates of tobacco-related deaths in the country, according to a study released earlier this month.
That study found that the state had one of 10 states with the highest rate of tobacco deaths among teens.
More than a dozen states, including Texas, also have a ban on smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants, and some cities have ordinances that restrict smoking in certain places.