A state lawmaker from San Antonio wants to raise the legal smoking age in Texas from 18 to 21.
"It's costing Texas $5.8 billion per year to deal with smoking-related illnesses," said Uresti.
He told 550 KTSA News his proposed measure is aimed at saving money and, more importantly, saving lives.
"If we are serious about stemming the epidemic of tobacco-related iseases and the misery they cause, we must steer people away from the potentially devastating choice of addiction," said Uresti.
And to opponents who say it's not right that a 20-year-old would be able to fight and die for our country, but wouldn't be allowed to smoke, Uresti says he's a former Marine and his son is a Marine.
"I have talked to numerous veterans who say they wish they never had started to smoke," said Uresti.
Uresti says the earlier a child first tries smoking, the higher their chances of ultimately becoming a regular smoker and the less likely they are to quit.