Long Beach officials consider raising age to buy tobacco

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LONG BEACH -

The city of Long Beach is considering raising the age for people to buy tobacco from 19 to 21 years old.

"If anything can help the younger kids to not start smoking, it's a good thing," says resident Cindy Tell. 

Daksha Mehta has owned Yogi's Smoke Shop for 20 years and says she is conflicted on the topic.

"For my business I say no, but I'm a mother so I say yes," she says.

If the city council votes yes her sales could plummet, especially the sales of vape supplies. Mehta says many of the people who buy vaping products are 19 to 25 years old.

The advocacy group Long Beach Aware is leading the charge to raise the age. The group's executive director, Judi Vining, says keeping tobacco away from teens is vital.

"The better equipped you are to intervene between early initiation and use, the better it is in terms of addiction and that includes tobacco," Vining says.

A vote could come as soon as Tuesday, but the city council could postpone the vote until Dec. 5 after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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