State lawmakers push to raise smoking age from 18 to 21

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — State lawmakers are again trying to raise the minimum age for legal tobacco purchases.

Rep. Teresa Tanzi and Sen. Cynthia Coyne, both Democrats, have introduced legislation to raise the minimum age to 21 beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

Tanzi introduced similar legislation last year. It stalled in committee.

Tanzi and Coyne say Rhode Island must do more to address smoking as a threat to public health and reduce smoking among youth.

Their legislation would apply to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.

Rhode Island’s two U.S. senators are also pushing for federal legislation to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.

Hawaii was the first state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21. Some cities have raised the smoking age to 21, including New York City.

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