Lawmakers in the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee heard testimony Tuesday on a bill that would change the legal age to buy tobacco products from 19 to 21.
Rep. Harry Crawford, an Anchorage Democrat, cited statistics showing that those who start smoking before the age of 21 are at almost double the risk of becoming lifetime smokers.
Committee Chairman Rep. Carl Morgan, an Aniak Republican, said passing Crawford's House Bill 189 would not stop people from smoking and suggested that the state focus on educating young people on the dangers of tobacco use.
"There will still be people that will get tobacco, but there will be less of them," Crawford said. "This is the time we can stand up and say this is the kind of future we want."
The bill was held Tuesday for further consideration.