Rhode Island’s two U.S. Senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are pushing to increase the national smoking age to 21. The two lawmakers joined other Congressmen introducing the legislation Wednesday.
In most states, including Rhode Island, the smoking age is 18. Lawmakers say in addition to cutting down on smoking-related illnesses, the legislation could greatly decrease astronomically high related medical costs.
Many of which, Senator Reed wrote in a statement, are passed on to the taxpayer. Some 21 million people have succumbed to smoking-related illness in the past 50 years.
In Rhode Island, a number of municipalities are cracking down heavily on public smoking. Cigarettes are banned on beaches in nine cities and towns in the state. All of Aquidneck Island’s public areas could soon be smoke free pending an ordinance in Portsmouth.
The national legislation was introduced by Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, the first state to raise the smoking age to 21.
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