Rhode Island lawmakers seek to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 21

In 2015, 16.1 percent of Mass. adults were smokers.
In 2015, 16.1 percent of Mass. adults were smokers. –AP Photo/Paul Sancya

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Two Rhode Island Democrats want to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 years old to 21.

Rep. Teresa Tanzi introduced legislation in the House and Sen. Cynthia Coyne introduced legislation in the Senate.

Hawaii and California have raised the smoking age to 21. Many cities have done it too, including Central Falls and Barrington, Rhode Island.

Tanzi has been pushing to raise the smoking age in Rhode Island since 2015. She says Rhode Island needs to do more to address smoking as a serious threat to public health.

She says raising the legal age for tobacco purchases would help reduce youth smoking and improve public health.

The restriction would apply to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, and would take effect upon passage.

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