Idaho Senate panel kills plan to raise smoking age to 21

Washington state teacher settles discrimination suit

A plan to bump Idaho’s legal smoking age from 18 to 21 has failed to win enough support among conservative Idaho lawmakers wary of curbing individual freedoms.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Fred Martin, a Republican from Boise, would have applied to smoking, chewing tobacco and using alternative nicotine products such as e-cigarettes. The goal was to join California and Hawaii as the only other states to ban smoking until age 21.

The Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday narrowly voted to defeat the bill after a two-hour hearing, where testimony at times got emotional while sharing stories of family members who had died from lung cancer.

Opponents argued that the proposal would strip rights from young people who are considered responsible enough to vote, be charged as an adult with a crime and serve in the military.