A federal report says raising the legal age to buy tobacco products to higher than 18 would likely prevent premature death for hundreds of thousands of people.
The report issued Thursday by the Institute of Medicine was commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration and mandated by a 2009 law that gave it authority to regulate tobacco.
The law set the federal minimum age at 18. Congress would have to act to raise it nationally.
Most states currently have set the age at 18. Four set the age at 19 and several localities, including New York City, have raised the minimum to 21.
The report looks at the impact of increasing the age to 19, 21 or 25, but it does not make any recommendations.