PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota House lawmakers have voted down a bill that would have raised the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.
The chamber rejected the bill Wednesday. It hadn't yet gone through the state Senate. Republican Rep. Leslie Heinemann, the sponsor, says it had been predicted to reduce the smoking rate.
Lobbyists for stores that sell tobacco have opposed the bill. House Majority Leader Lee Qualm says he couldn't support legislation denying the purchase of a legal product to people otherwise treated as adults.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says California, New Jersey, Oregon, Hawaii and Maine, along with many localities, have increased the tobacco age to 21.
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