RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Tobacco-friendly Virginia is preparing to raise the age limit on buying traditional and electric cigarettes from 18 to 21.
GOP leaders in the majority-Republican General Assembly announced Thursday they were backing legislation to raise the limit for all tobacco products, citing the rapid growth of teenage vaping.
Virginia-based tobacco giant Altria announced support for the legislation.
The surprise announcement by Republicans is part of a wider effort to broaden their appeal to suburban voters ahead of legislative elections later this year. Altria could also be looking to garner goodwill among lawmakers to diffuse a push for stricter laws on vaping and other tobacco products.
Other states have raised age limits, but Virginia has long been entwined with tobacco, which powered its economy when it was a colony 400 years ago.