South Dakota lawmakers advance under-21 tobacco sales ban

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota House panel has approved a bill that would raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

The House Health and Human Services Committee voted 8-4 Tuesday to advance the plan to the chamber's floor.

Megan Myers, a lobbyist for the American Heart Association in South Dakota, says the state has the opportunity to pass a policy that can save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in health care costs.

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.

Lobbyists for stores that sell tobacco opposed the bill.

Republican Rep. Tim Rounds, an opponent, says he despises cigarette smoke, but says tobacco use is a choice that adults make.