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Oregon raises smoking age to 21, joining California, Hawaii as only states to do so

In this June 22, 2012, file photo, a smoker snuffs out a cigarette at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Anti-smoking activists who have tried unsuccessfully for more than a decade to raise cigarette taxes in California are broadening their fight to include taxing electronic cigarettes, a booming industry that has seen a huge spike in teen users in in November 2016.
In this June 22, 2012, file photo, a smoker snuffs out a cigarette at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Anti-smoking activists who have tried unsuccessfully for more than a decade to raise cigarette taxes in California are broadening their fight to include taxing electronic cigarettes, a booming industry that has seen a huge spike in teen users in in November 2016. Associated Press File

If you’re younger than 21 years old, you won’t be able to buy cigarettes in Oregon anymore.

The Oregon House passed Senate Bill 754 by a 39-to-20 vote on Thursday, acccording to KTVL. The new bill will go into effect as soon as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signs the bill.

Oregon will be the third state in the country to bar the purchase of tobacco products for people under the age of 21, joining California and Hawaii. The bill applies to cigarettes, e-cigarettes and tobacco products, according to KTVL.

“This is really important because we know 95 percent of lifetime smokers start before age 21 and by removing tobacco from peer groups in high schools, we’re ensuring that young people have a lesser likelihood of knowing someone over the age of 21, and will be less likely to pick up the deadly habit to begin with," Christopher Friend, government relations director with the American Cancer Society, told KTVL.

California implemented similar legislation back in May 2016, according to the Bee’s Alexei Koseff. It became the second state in the country to raise its smoking age to 21 and placed tight restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes.

California also passed Proposition 56 in November 2016, which increased the cigarette tax rate from 87 cents to $2.87 per pack of 20 cigarettes. With the increased cost, some smokers were motivated to give up their habit.

And smoking cost the state itself too. Smoking cost California an estimate $18.1 billion, according to a study from the University of California San Francisco.

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