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Mississippians not required to be 21 to buy tobacco products

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.

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