Pa. bill would ban tobacco purchases with public assistance

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvanians could not use cash assistance cards to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products under a bill pending in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) said his legislation, House Bill 1038, would also prohibit cash withdrawals on electronic benefit transfer cards at businesses licensed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

State law already bans the purchase of liquor and alcohol with EBT cards.

Reese said public tax dollars should not be used frivolously.

“Like any government expense, these funds must be spent wisely,” Reese said in a statement. “Every assistance dollar that is wasted could otherwise be used to help a struggling family pay their rent or buy groceries, which is the true purpose of assistance programs.”

House Bill 1038 has been assigned to the House Health Committee for consideration.

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