AUGUSTA — The House endorsed a bill Friday to increase the legal age to buy cigarettes in Maine to 21.

On a vote of 113-34, House lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill that would raise the minimum age from 18 to 21 to purchase tobacco products – including electronic cigarettes – but phases in the effects. Adults who are 18 years old by July 1, 2018, would still be allowed to purchase tobacco.

The Senate also gave initial approval to the bill on a vote of 31-4. The lopsided votes in both chambers suggest that the bill, which was strongly supported by medical and health organizations, has a strong chance of overriding a potential veto from Gov. Paul LePage.

The measure, L.D. 1170, still faces final votes in both the House and Senate.

Portland increased the legal age to purchase tobacco and tobacco products from 18 to 21 last July.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 791-6312 or at:

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