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Raising smoking age in DC would cost $5 million

WASHINGTON (AP) — An effort to raise the smoking age to 21 in the nation’s capital may be derailed because it’s too expensive.

The District of Columbia’s fiscal watchdog said in a memo on Wednesday that banning 18-to-20-year-olds from buying tobacco products would cost the city $1.3 million in tax revenue next year and $5 million over four years.

That means even if the D.C. Council approves the bill, it wouldn’t take effect until the mayor and council put money in the budget to offset the loss in revenue.

Dozens of cities have raised the smoking age to 21, but Hawaii and California are the only states that have done it. Supporters say banning people under 21 from buying cigarettes will reduce smoking and save lives because most smokers start when they’re young.

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