Congress appears poised to permanently prohibit the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.
The provision is expected to be included in a final year-end spending deal, according to a senior Democratic aide.
The provision, which is supported by many major public health groups, was included as part of a bipartisan and bicameral legislative package to fix surprise medical bills. But turf wars and partisanship have derailed that legislation and lawmakers wanted to ensure the tobacco provision survived intact.
The tobacco legislation was originally sponsored by Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema Democrats revive filibuster fight over voting rights bill MORE (D-Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' Capito grills EPA nominee on '#ResistCapitalism' tweet Hassan launches first ad of reelection bid focusing on veterans' issues MORE (R-Ky.), and has broad, bipartisan support from Sens. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzHotel workers need a lifeline; It's time to pass The Save Hotel Jobs Act Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Scientists potty train cows to cut pollution Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan MORE (D-Hawaii), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungHow to fix the semiconductor chip shortage (it's more than manufacturing) Senate Democrats try to defuse GOP budget drama The 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill MORE (R-Ind.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema US gymnasts offer scathing assessment of FBI The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Simone Biles, gymnastics stars slam FBI during Nassar testimony MORE (D-Ill.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyWarren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack Overnight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It's 'foolish' to buy Treasury bonds Democrats aim for maximum pressure on GOP over debt ceiling MORE (R-Utah).
While larger efforts to regulate tobacco by banning certain flavors and e-cigarettes have stalled at the federal level, lawmakers believe raising the tobacco purchasing age will make a difference.
Tobacco companies are on the front line pushing for the legislation at the federal and state levels, mainly in an effort to stave off stronger regulations that could have disastrous effects on the industry.
Industry giant Altria has endorsed the bipartisan legislation. Public health groups have said any tobacco industry support makes them wary, but they have praised the effort.