Md. Legislators Propose Raising the Smoking Age - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. Legislators Propose Raising the Smoking Age

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SALISBURY, Md.- Currently the legal age to buy cigarettes in Maryland is 18, but some state legislators would like to see the age go up to 21.

They say the three year age difference means people will be more mature and conscious of the health consequences of smoking if they choose to start.

But Austin Lewis says an age law didn't stop him from smoking.

"Probably around 14 I tried it at first and irregardless of the law either you find someone who's old enough to buy it or you find some kind of way to get it if you really want it," he said.

So Lewis doesn't think changing the law would make a difference to would-be smokers, but Jennifer Johnson with the Wicomico County Health Department believes laws can make a difference.

"This is going to be another barrier so they can't, you know, just purchase them," she said.

Some say a later start for prospective smokers would improve the health of the state.

"If you have more people smoking at 18, it's more risk for cancer, period," Shannon Brown said.

And those health risks is what got Lewis to stop smoking and stop using chewing tobacco.

"It has all kinds of weird effects on your gums stuff, so I just figured I should quit before I get mouth cancer or something. So it was pretty much the side effects that made me stop," he said.

A lesson he had to learn by growing up.

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