Bill would make Rhode Island 1st to raise smoking age to 21

By The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ A Rhode Island lawmaker wants the state to become the first to raise the age for legal tobacco purchases to 21.

State Rep. Teresa Tanzi has introduced a bill to raise the state’s smoking age from 18 to make it harder for younger people to get cigarettes. She says she hopes doing so will prevent them from starting to smoke.

Although some municipalities have raised the smoking age to 21, no state has done so. Four states set their minimum age for tobacco purchases at age 19.

Tanzi’s bill would apply to all forms of tobacco. If passed, it would take effect immediately. The Democrat represents Narragansett and South Kingstown.

Rhode Island-based CVS Health drew national attention last year when it pulled cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products from its store shelves.

© The Associated Press/WLNE-TV 2015