Lawmakers debate raising West Virginia smoking age to 21

The Senate Health Committee engaged in vigorous debate Thursday afternoon about whether to raise the minimum smoking age in West Virginia from 18 to 21.

The measure would also prohibit 18 year olds from vaping or using alternative nicotine.

Supporters said making it harder for younger smokers to start has been proven to cut down on the number of people who become addicted.

After several minutes of questions and comments on both sides, the bill passed the health committee on a very close voice vote.

Because the budget could be impacted if fewer people smoke, meaning less tobacco tax revenue for the state, the bill now moves to the Senate Finance Committee.

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