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For second year, Senate Committee kills bill to raise legal smoking age

The Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday killed the proposal after an emotional hearing, where several people shared stories of family members who had died from lung cancer. (KBOI photo)

For the second year in a row, an Idaho Senate panel has killed a bill that would have increased the legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Fred Martin, a Republican from Boise, would have applied to smoking, chewing tobacco and using alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes.

The goal was to join California, New Jersey, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine to ban smoking until age 21.

Sen. Martin told KBOI 2News he respects the decision of the committee, but he'll be back next year.

"This is a very important issue to me, "Sen. Martin said. "We'll continue to work on raising the age. The committee offered some very good ideas on possible changes that would make this bill more agreeable to them."

The Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday killed the proposal after an emotional hearing, where several people shared stories of family members who had died from lung cancer.

The same committee refused to advance a similar proposal last year.

Opponents argued that the proposal would strip rights from young people who are considered responsible enough to vote, be charged as an adult with a crime and serve in the military.

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