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California Senate Approves Bill To Raise Smoking Age To 21

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California lawmakers are pushing forward a bill to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21.

The state Senate on Tuesday passed SB151 by Sen. Ed Hernandez on a 26-8 vote. The bill advances to the Assembly.

California would become the first or second state to raise its smoking age. A similar bill passed in Hawaii is now before the governor there.

Hernandez, a Democratic optometrist from La Puente, said big tobacco markets to young people knowing that they are more likely to become addicted if they start smoking early.

Anti-smoking advocates say raising the smoking age would reduce premature deaths, as tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

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