Mass. Senate OKs bill raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21

Packs of Marlboro cigarettes are displayed for sale at a convenience store in Somerville, Massachusetts July 17, 2014.
–REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill raising the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco or vaping products from 18 to 21.

The House approved a similar bill last month.

The 33-3 vote in the Senate Thursday could help bring the entire state in line with a policy already adopted by many cities and towns.

The bill would also include e-cigarettes under the smoke-free workplace law and prohibit the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.

Boston is among more than 170 Massachusetts cities and towns where local ordinances set 21 as the minimum age for purchasing tobacco, according to a tally kept by Tobacco 21, a national organization that supports the higher age.

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The House and Senate must now hammer out a single compromise version of the bill.