BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana won't raise its legal smoking age from 18 to 21.

The House resoundingly snuffed out the proposal from Rep. Frank Hoffmann, a West Monroe Republican. Only 24 members backed the measure Thursday, while 55 opposed it.

Hoffmann, a former smoker, says he's trying to save lives and cut health costs.

Opponents argued the age hike would violate individual freedoms.

House Republican leader Lance Harris, who owns a chain of convenience stores, says people who can join the military, get married and buy a home shouldn't be told they can't smoke.

Hoffmann didn't have the backing of anti-smoking groups. Those organizations said the bill didn't do enough to curb smoking and was too weak on enforcement and penalties for businesses that sell to underage smokers.