Article by: Angelica LaVito, CNBC

Posted: November 8, 2017

Five health and medical groups are supporting legislation that would raise the smoking age to 21 nationwide.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed bills introduced this week by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.

“We applaud Sen. Schatz and Rep. DeGette for their leadership in introducing this legislation to reduce the number of young people who start on a path that too often leads to addiction, disease and premature death,” the groups said in a statement.

This isn’t DeGette’s and Schatz’s first go at trying to raise the age to purchase tobacco. They and a handful of others first introduced the legislation in 2015. However, this time they may have more momentum.

Local governments across the country have already started raising the smoking age to 21 from 18. As of mid-October, five states and at least 270 localities have raised the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products to 21, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

That number is likely to increase, as advocates push for more local legislation until the federal government enacts its own.