UT lawmakers give initial OK to raise smoking age

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal to raise the minimum age Utah residents can buy tobacco products to 21 from 19 cleared an early hurdle at the Legislature today.

An interim committee of lawmakers voted to recommend the proposal for the next legislative session starting in January.

The move comes a day after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed similar legislation, making New York the first large city in the country to bar tobacco sales to young adults.

Utah is already among a handful of states that ban sales to anyone under 19. Most other states set the minimum age at 18.

Sen. Stuart Reid, an Ogden Republican who is one of the sponsors of the Utah proposal, says if people don’t start smoking before 21, the chances that they will become smokers are much lower.



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