Smoking age to 21? Tennessee strongly supports the plan, says new poll

By Brett Kelman, The Tennessean

Nearly two thirds of Tennesseans favor raising the legal age for smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21, a dramatic shift in what has long been one of the nation’s most smoking-friendly states, according to a new poll from Nashville health leaders.

Sixty-three percent of participants supported raising the smoking age, with 48 percent supporting the proposal "strongly," poll results show. Concern about young adults smoking was consistent across demographics, political affiliation and all regions of Tennessee.

Former Sen. Bill Frist, a longtime Tennessee political icon who helped organize the poll, said the results illustrate the broad divide between public desire and political will in Tennessee, where powerful tobacco lobbyists hold major sway. 

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