Louisiana House snuffs out bid to raise smoking age to 21
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana won't raise its legal smoking age from 18 to 21.
The House resoundingly snuffed out the proposal from Rep. Frank Hoffmann, a West Monroe Republican. Only 24 members backed the measure Thursday, while 55 opposed it.
Hoffmann, a former smoker, says he's trying to save lives and cut health costs.
Opponents argued the age hike would violate individual freedoms.
House Republican leader Lance Harris, who owns a chain of convenience stores, says people who can join the military, get married and buy a home shouldn't be told they can't smoke.
Hoffmann didn't have the backing of anti-smoking groups. Those organizations said the bill didn't do enough to curb smoking and was too weak on enforcement and penalties for businesses that sell to underage smokers.