Massachusetts Senate OKs Bill Hiking Tobacco Purchasing Age

 Cigarettes await sale at a sidewalk newsstand on April 23, 2013 in New York City. The legal age to buy cigarettes could rise to 21 from 18 in New York City under a proposal officials released this week, making New York the strictest of any major U.S. city on smoking age limits. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill raising the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes and other tobacco or vaping products from 18 to 21.

The House approved a similar bill last month.

The 33-3 vote in the Senate Thursday could help bring the entire state in line with a policy already adopted by many cities and towns.

The bill would also include e-cigarettes under the smoke-free workplace law and prohibit the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.

Boston is among more than 170 Massachusetts cities and towns where local ordinances set 21 as the minimum age for purchasing tobacco, according to a tally kept by Tobacco 21, a national organization that supports the higher age.

The House and Senate must now hammer out a single compromise version of the bill.

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