Vermont House votes to raise smoking age from 18 to 21

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – The Vermont House has given preliminary approval to a bill to raise the age to use tobacco from 18 to 21.

The House action on Tuesday came after lawmakers rejected an exemption for members of the military, and raised the cigarette tax by 13 cents a pack in each of the next three years. Backers of the tax increase said it was needed to make up for lost tax revenues from no longer selling tobacco to people younger than 21.

Rep. George Till, a Jericho Democrat who is also a physician, argued that raising the age would discourage young people from starting an unhealthy and addictive habit.

Opponents of making the change said 18-year-olds are treated as adults in most other instances, and should be with tobacco as well.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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