Friday, February 21, 2014

Colorado and Utah to raise smoking age to 21

A proposal to raise the tobacco age to 21 in Colorado is up for its first review in the state Legislature. The bipartisan bill would make Colorado the first with a statewide 21-to-smoke law. It's before the House Health, Insurance, and Environment Committee Thursday afternoon.

People who are currently between the ages of 18 and 20 would be grandfathered in, meaning the measure wouldn't be fully implemented until today's 17-year-olds are 21.

It's not clear how many of Colorado's current smokers are younger than 21. However, a paper published last year in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine said that 9 out of 10 daily smokers have their first cigarette by 18 years of age.

A Senate committee has approved a bill raising the age Utah young people can legally buy cigarettes from 19 to 21. The Senate Health and Human Services committee voted 4-1 on Thursday to approve the measure. It now advances to the full Senate. Ogden Republican Sen. Stuart Reid sponsors the bill and says it may prevent young people from getting addicted to tobacco.

Opponents say the bill infringes on the freedom of young adults. Utah is one of a handful of states that ban sales for those under 19 years old, instead of 18. Reid's bill could make Utah the first state in the country to raise the age to 21.

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