New Jersey city hikes tobacco-buying age to 21

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ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (PIX11/AP)-- A New Jersey city will become the first in the state to raise the age to 21 to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products, following a banning trend across the country and internationally.

Englewood is the first municipality in the Garden state that has raised the minimum age for sales of tobacco and nicotine products, including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes, to 21, according to a smoke-free advocacy group.

The new law goes into effect next week.

Violators found smoking on public property will pay a $250 fine for their first-time. Second-time violators would pay a $500 fine, with each following offense costing $1,000.

Studies have shown that smoking and smokeless tobacco use are initiated and established primarily during adolescence. Nearly nine out of ten smokers started smoking by age 18, according to Center of Disease Control.

New Jersey raised the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 19 in 2006.

A bill is making its way through the Legislature that would ban the sale of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices to anyone under 21.

New York City banned tobacco sales to people under the age of 21, including electronic smoking devices. Many municipalities in Massachusetts have also raised the limit.

Dubai and Sir Lanka have banned the sale of smoking products to people under 21.