Brandt Hershman

Leading lawmakers leery of boosting Indiana smoking age

Legislative leaders are leery of a proposal backed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce to raise the state's legal age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21.

The statewide business group announced a lobbying agenda Monday for the legislative session that starts in early January, saying Indiana needs to reduce its smoking rate that causes an estimated $3 billion in annual heath care costs in the state. The chamber also is calling on the Republican-dominated Legislature to repeal a state law that prohibits businesses from refusing to hire tobacco users.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said he expected many libertarian-leaning GOP House member would have trouble taking those...