House health committee approves boosting smoking age to 21 in Louisiana

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's legal smoking age would rise to 21 if lawmakers agree to a measure backed by the House health committee.

Republican Rep. Frank Hoffmann says his proposed change would save lives and cut state health care costs. He has repeatedly sought to toughen laws against smoking.

His bill would prohibit anyone under 21 years old from buying tobacco, alternative nicotine or vapor products. The House health committee that Hoffmann chairs voted 10-2 Wednesday to send the measure to the full House for debate.

The legislation received muted reactions from some anti-smoking groups, who say the proposal is weak on enforcement.

Opponents argued the bill interferes with adults' personal choices.

The American Lung Association says a dozen states have raised their smoking ages to 21.

A KNOE Facebook poll showed that 60% of respondents favor raising the smoking age to 21.

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House Bill 38: www.legis.la.gov

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