A majority of respondents to a Carroll Daily Times Herald poll say customers should be at least 21 years old to legally purchase cigarettes.

In the unscientific poll, available online at carrollspaper.com for several months, 51 percent of respondents said the legal age for buying cigarettes in Iowa should 21 - an increase from the current threshold of 18 - an age at which 38 percent of those taking the poll favored allowing people to obtain cigarettes.

A total of 373 people responded to the online poll. Four percent of respondents said the legal age for purchasing cigarettes should be 16, and 7 percent said there should be no age limit.

In Iowa, the Legislature reduced the legal age to purchase tobacco from 21 to 18 in 1959.

New York City and Hawaii County, Hawaii, have enacted ordinances banning the purchase of tobacco products by anyone under age 21. New Jersey, Utah, Alaska and Alabama have an age limit of 19 for tobacco sales.

Colorado and Utah are eyeing an increase to 21, but the measure would be gradually adopted in both states, grandfathering in smokers between 18 and 20.

Carroll City Council members recently approved cigarette-sales licenses for 16 businesses in the city. The permits are valid through June 30, 2015.

According to The Washington Post, researchers say 90 percent of regular smokers in the United States have their first cigarettes before they turn 18, and 90 percent of cigarettes obtained by underage smokers are purchased by those between 18 and 20 years old.