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N.J. bill raises age to buy tobacco to 21

NEW YORK — Two New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday proposed raising the state’s minimum age for buying cigarettes to 21, reaching across the Hudson River to borrow an idea from New York City in a gesture of regional cooperation to keep tobacco from many young adults.

In the unusual move that highlighted a spirit of alliance between sometime rivals, New Jersey state Senator Richard Codey and Assemblyman Ruben Ramos unveiled the proposal at New York’s City Hall.

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‘‘I think we have to send a message to our young adults: to smoke is no joke,’’ said Codey. As acting governor, he signed a measure raising the age limit from 18 to 19 seven years ago.

The threshold has been raised to 21 in Needham, Mass., and the idea has gained more attention since City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and colleagues proposed it in the nation’s biggest city last month. Some state lawmakers have since proposed doing likewise throughout New York.

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