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Senate approves higher fines to keep cigarettes from minors

  Michigan lawmakers want to make it costlier for stores that sell cigarettes to minors and the minors who illegally buy them.

Violating the law forbidding the sale of cigarettes to minors is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 per violation, which has not changed in at least 27 years. Legislation approved unanimously Tuesday would double the fine to $100 for an initial violation and impose up to a $500 fine for each subsequent violation.

The bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Steve Bieda of Warren moves to the House for consideration.

Michigan bars people from selling, giving or furnishing tobacco to minors under age 18. Minors are prohibited from buying, possessing or using tobacco. They also cannot lie to stores about their age.