January 26, 2018 10:39:50 AM
JACKSON -- A House committee doesn't want to require Mississippians to be 21 to buy tobacco products.
The House Ways and Means Committee, on a split voice vote Wednesday, rejected House Bill 835. The measure sponsored by Rep. Debra Butler Dixon, a Raymond Democrat, would have increased the age to buy cigarettes and other products from the current 18.
States with ages above 18 include Alabama, Alaska and Utah at 19; and California, Hawaii, New Jersey and Oregon at 21.
In 2016, Adams County made 21 the tobacco-buying age in areas outside Natchez.
Tobacco-control advocates also want Mississippi's tobacco tax -- now 68 cents per pack of cigarettes -- raised to $1.50 a pack.
They say a higher smoking age and higher taxes would deter use, cutting future health costs and deaths.