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Proposed Utah bill changes smoking age to 21

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Utah could be the first state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21. It’s a proposal by two lawmakers who say it’s best to protect the state’s youth.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah)- Utah could be the first state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21. It’s a proposal by two lawmakers who say it’s best to protect the state’s youth. But opponents say it’s just the government taking away yet another liberty. Wednesday, the bill passed through a legislative committee. It simply means that now the bill will go before the House in the upcoming session. It’s a change that’s already garnishing a lot of attention.

Light up and smoke up a cigarette at the age of 19 in Utah. But some lawmakers want to up that age 21.

“This is a policy question on individual liberty? On what constitutes adulthood in the state of Utah and when are individuals capable of making choices,” said President of Utah Food Industry and Utah Retail Merchants Dave Davis.

While this retail industry leader doesn’t agree with the increase, sponsors of the bills ay it’s all about safety.

“I think the appropriate threshold is 21. That once you're 21, that you're fully an adult and can make these decisions,” said Senator Reid.

It would make Utah a first: 21 to drink and 21 to smoke.

“There are actually no factors that couldn’t lead you to raise the age to 21 because the damage that cigarettes cause is indisputably more damaging than hat from alcohol,” said Representative Powell.

We took to our ABC 4 Utah Facebook page to see what you thought.

“They should up the age to join the army or the air force or the marines if you are old enough to go to war and kill for your country you should be considered old enough to smoke or have a drink,” said Corinne Dalton.

“I think all states should do that, and that's from a smoker,” said Brian Kelly.

“Fine by me. I'm 30 and don't smoke,” said Hayley Isaacson.

“I don't think it matters on the age. If someone is going to smoke they will figure out how to get them no matter how old they are,” said Melissa May Torgerson.

We want you to join in on the conversation. Go to our ABC 4 Utah Facebook Page. You can tweet me @NadiaNewsNow. We’d love to hear what you think about the proposed law to up the smoking age to 21.

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