FRANKFORT- Kentuckians won't be seeing the smoking age raise--not yet anyway.
A bill raising the smoking age to 21 in the commonwealth failed to get enough votes to pass out of committee.
But those in support--and the against the bill are likely not who you would think.
Altria--the parent company of Philip Morris was in support of the bill while the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky was against it.
"It's our view that the time has come to support 21 nationally, we are supporting federally, we are supporting it in states," said David Fernandez with Altria. "We do think that putting it on par with alcohol makes sense."
The Foundation says they are pushing for raising the age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21--but Senate Bill 249 was a weak bill.
"What we had here was a bill that had serious problems," said Bonnie Hackbarth with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "We definitely congratulate Sen. Meredith for proposing this bill. Raising the age to 21 is a measure that will reduce the youth initiation of tobacco. But only if it's an effective bill."
The Foundation says the bill needed to put the onus on the merchants selling tobacco products to youths, instead of only penalizing the buyer.
"We need a bill that will revoke or suspend licenses of retailers who selling tobacco to underage kids," Hackbarth said. "Right now, even under current law, the onus is mostly on kids. The fines for a retailer who sells a tobacco product is between $100-$500. That's very low, that's not enough incentive. This was a step in the right direction, a T-21 bill. But let's make it the right bill."
The concerns with the bill listed by the foundation are not the reason the bill failed however.
In fact--it was defeated by pro-tobacco lawmakers who thought this would further impact the already struggling tobacco farmers in Kentucky.
"I want you know there is a lot of concern across the state with the situation that agriculture is in, last year we were talking about dairies closing, commodity prices are in the tank," said Sen. Stan Humphries, R-Cadiz. "And now we're going to raise the age to 21. That's going to cut back on the tobacco production."
The Foundation is instead calling on lawmakers to pass HB 11, the smoke free school bill that has been awaiting a vote on the House floor since early February.
SB 249 failed with a vote of 4-6.