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Politics

Bid to hike Tennessee smoking age to 21 snuffed out in House

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An effort to raise Tennessee's smoking age from 18 to 21 has been defeated in the state House.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Bob Ramsey of Maryville failed to receive a motion in the House Agriculture Committee on Tuesday.

Ramsey, who worked on his family's tobacco farm growing up, has said he introduced the bill over health concerns for Tennesseans.

Legislative analysts had projected that the measure would cost state and local governments about $10 million in lost revenue a year once fully implemented.

Tennessee's tax on each pack of cigarettes was raised from 20 cents to 62 cents in 2007.

Hawaii is the only state that bans teenagers from smoking, but California lawmakers last week passed legislation to follow suit. That bill is awaiting the governor's signature.