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Bill to lift Idaho smoking age from 18 to 21 fails in House
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Bill to lift Idaho smoking age from 18 to 21 fails in House

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Smoking in bars

Rod Adams lifts his cigarette from the ashtray on the bar top Jan. 11, 2019, at The GR in Twin Falls.

BOISE (AP) — The House on Tuesday rejected legislation banning anyone under 21 from buying cigarettes or electronic smoking products in Idaho.

Lawmakers voted 40-28 against the measure that would have brought Idaho in line with the federal smoking age after President Donald Trump signed a law in 2019 that bars tobacco sales to anyone under 21. The measure had previously passed the Senate.

Supporters said Idaho stores are already abiding by federal law, but state law needs to be changed to avoid confusion and confrontations in stores.

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“This doesn't change any regulation that's already in effect in the state,” said the bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. John Vander Woude.

The proposed law would have also prevented local governments from imposing more stringent regulations or taxes on the sale of tobacco products than what the state already does.

Opponents said people who can join the military at 18 or buy a house should be able to buy smoking products.

“If you’re old enough to serve in the military, if you’re old enough to risk your life, I think you’re old enough to make your decision regarding smoking,” said Democratic Rep. John Gannon.

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