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    Oklahoma House Panel Approves Raising Legal Tobacco Age

    Gradual increase over three years would make the age limit 21 in 2015.

    OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- In a 7-5 vote this week, Oklahoma's House of Representatives Public Health Committee passed a bill to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products within the state to 21, according to an Associated Press report. The bill now moves to the full House for discussion.

    Sponsored by Rep. Ann Coody (R.-Lawton), the bill would phase in the increased age limit gradually to avoid preventing previously legal adults from being able to purchase tobacco. If passed, the age limit will become 19 in 2013, 20 in 2014 and 21 in 2015.

    Oklahoma would become the first state to increase the legal age to 21, although others have raised it to 19, said Coody.

    The bill will likely draw criticism due to its exclusion of tribal smoke shops, which some House members have stated would provide an unfair competitive advantage.

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