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DENVER (AP) - A proposal to raise the tobacco age to 21 has been approved by a Colorado House panel.

The bipartisan bill could make Colorado the first with a statewide 21-to-smoke law. It passed the House Health, Insurance, and Environment Committee on a 6-4 party-line vote Thursday afternoon.

People who are currently between the ages of 18 and 20 would be grandfathered in, meaning the measure wouldn't be fully implemented until today's 17-year-olds are 21.

It's not clear how many of Colorado's current smokers are younger than 21. However, doctors say that 9 out of 10 daily smokers have their first cigarette by 18 years of age.

The measure awaits one more committee vote before heading to the full House.

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