A bill seeking to make 21-years-old the new minimum age to purchase tobacco products in West Virginia has passed the Senate, with the chamber approving it by a 20-14 vote on Wednesday.

While it would increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes, S.B. 348 would not change the age to possess or use tobacco products, leaving that at 18-years-old. It passed through the Senate with bi-partisan support, including eight co-sponsors signing on in support.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives where it has been assigned to the Health and Human Resources Committee, with the Judiciary Committee scheduled to hear it next.

Neighboring Virginia just recently became the seventh state to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old, with that increase scheduled to go into effect on July 1. The six states to have already raised the minimum age to 21 are Hawaii, California, Oregon, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.