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Could Texas raise the legal smoking age this year?

medicaldaily.com/Creative Commons

A movement has long been in the works to raise the legal smoking age to 21. But this year, as The Dallas Morning News reports, advocates for the law may actually have the political backing to accomplish their mission.

Democrats in Texas have been trying for over 10 years to find ways to keep Texans, and especially kids, from taking up smoking. But they’ve been fought every step of the way by Republicans, who see raising the legal smoking age as an infringement of personal liberty, that would also cost the state millions in lost tax revenue.

Democratic congressman Carlos Uresti of San Antonio has submitted five bills over the years, trying to convince his colleagues across the aisle that the law would pay for the lost tax revenue by saving lives and lowering health care costs.

But now a Republican congressman, Rep. John Zerwas, has taken up the cause, and he says this year the bill will move forward.