SAN ANTONIO — Starting October 1, residents of San Antonio will have to be 21 or older to purchase tobacco products.
The ordinance was passed in January to raise to legal purchasing age, becoming the first Texas city to do so.
At the time of the City Council vote, officials with the city's Metropolitan Health District praised the measure, citing the monetary savings San Antonio will see in the long run.
"We know that people who smoke cost health insurers much more than people who don't smoke," Colleen Bridger said. "They have more absenteeism and less productivity."
The ordinance also applies to all forms of tobacco products, including liquids used in e-cigarettes and hookahs.
"What we want to accomplish is reducing the number of young people, young adults who start smoking in our community," Metro Health Assistant Director Mario Martinez said. "And that's a big push is to get that education across."
Bridgette McFarlin, manager at Smokerz Paradize, said that she's all too familiar with these statistics.
"I started smoking at 16," McFarlin said. "I stopped, but once I turned 18, started up again. I really wish that I was a more mature age to know I shouldn't do it, because I'm really regretting smoking right now."
The smoke shop is one of dozens within the city limits that are training their employees and changing their signs to reflect the new ordinance.