Bipartisan senators push for raising the age for purchasing tobacco

Bipartisan senators push for raising the age for purchasing tobacco
Legislators on Capitol Hill look at raising the smoking age to 21. (Source: Rattankun Thongbun)

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A push to raise the legal smoking age to 21 is coming from Capitol Hill. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) is helping to lead the charge alongside Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Todd Young (R-IN), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

The lawmakers say they want to raise the legal smoking age for smoking cigarettes and vaping. 12 states have already raised the age under their state laws. Hawaii was the first to do so. Schatz says the evidence is clear that raising the age limit for tobacco products would save lives.

“Between vaping and JUULing and combustible cigarettes, lots of kids are getting hooked on nicotine and that turns into a habit and that turns into cancer at the end of people's’ lives,“ said Schatz.

The senators also mentioned getting rid of flavored tobacco products that target children. They say that will also help in the fight to crack down on tobacco-related deaths.

A JUUL labs spokesperson says, “We strongly support raising the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 and have been actively supporting legislation to do this in states across the country and at the federal level. We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in this country, if youth-use continues unabated. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we will continue to work with lawmakers across the country to enact these effective policies.”

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