B.C.'s health minister campaigns to raise legal smoking age to 21

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VICTORIA - British Columbia's health minister is campaigning to raise the province's legal smoking age to 21.

Terry Lake says he's an ardent anti-smoker and believes the longer people are legally prevented from buying tobacco products, the better the odds are they won't pick up the habit.

The legal age in Canada to purchase tobacco products is set by each province and territory, with B.C. being among six provinces and territories at 19 and the others at 18.

Lake says raising the smoking age is a personal campaign and does not represent an official change on behalf of B.C.'s government.

Lake is not running in May's provincial election, but he says he hopes his successor will continue with his push to raise the smoking age.

He says both his father and mother suffered from smoking-related illnesses and his siblings have struggled to quit smoking.

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