Senate Bill Fines Minors With Tobacco

CARSON CITY, NV - Nevada law bans teens from buying cigarettes. But nothing says they can't have the in their possession. Republican Senator James Settelmeyer believes that's a problem. He's introduced legislation in Carson City to close the gap.

Its estimated 80% of smokers begin the habit by 18 years of age.

Here in Nevada, teens can't buy their own cigarettes.

But talk with some high school students and you'll soon realize that doesn't stop some kids from picking up the habit.

“They can even get them from their parents if their parents smoke. It comes from everywhere,” says Breanna Carreon, a sophomore at a local high school.

But undeterred Republican State Senator James Settlemeyer has introduced a bill that he says fills the gap when it comes to underage smoking.

Senate Bill 177 makes it a crime for youngsters to possess or use tobacco.

Under the bill:

Underage smokers could be ticketed by police officers with the first offense a $25 dollar fine.

A second offense $50 dollars

A third $75 dollars.

Settlemeyer says students smoking off campus is a testament that Nevada's current law isn't curbing teen smoking.

Rachael Abina another Sophomore says kids start smoking early.

“I'm going to say middle school,” Abina speculates.

National statistics show there are approximately 600,000 middle school students who smoke in this country.

That number jumps to 3,000,000 by the time they get to high school.

Senate Bill 177could have kids thinking twice about smoking, but considering for every smoker that dies, there are two to replace that person, habits--especially smoking are tough to break.