Lawmakers vote against raising legal smoking age to 21

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DENVER — Lawmakers Wednesday voted down a proposal to raise the minimum age requirement for buying cigarettes to 21, a bipartisan proposal that split both Democratic and Republican caucuses.

The House Finance Committee voted down House Bill 1263 on a vote of 6-7 with Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Denver, joining the six Republicans on the panel in voting no.

The proposal aimed to prevent anyone who is younger than 21 from purchasing or possessing cigarettes or tobacco products such e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

Violating that proposed law would amount to a Class 2 petty offense, punishable by either a $100 fine or community service.

Supporters of the proposal argued that raising the age requirement might serve as a deterrent and lead to improved public health and lower medical costs over time.

The House Health and Environment Committee had already approved the bill earlier this year.

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