Maine lawmakers consider raising smoking age to 21

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine Republican’s bill to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 is headed to the House.

The Maine Senate on Thursday voted 31-4 against an effort to kill the bill.

The bill also expands the definition of tobacco products to include electronic smoking devices.

The amended bill would only apply to people who are 18 as of July 1, 2018.

Republican Sen. Eric Brakey argued the bill infringes upon the personal freedom of adults and expands a nanny state.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Paul Davis, spoke of loved ones who died from exposure to tobacco products.

Democratic Sen. Michael Carpenter said that smokers often start young.

Tobacco producer Altria, Rite Aid Corporation and the American Lung Association reported lobbying on the bill.

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