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NJ Assembly To Vote On Raising Cigarette Buying Age To 21

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The New Jersey Assembly is set to vote Thursday on a bill that would ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone under 21.

As WCBS 880's Levon Putney reported, it's part of a new trend -- New York City and 14 New Jersey towns have already raised their buying age.

"This is about good public health policy," said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Englewood, who is co-sponsoring the bill. "And when you look at the statistics, 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21.

"If you look at our drinking laws, we went from 18 to 21, and I believe when you raise the age, our youth become more informed and educated and aware at that point."

She added that studies show smoking can hurt teenage brain development.

If the legislation passes, any stores caught selling cigarettes to underage buyers would be fined.

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