Congress poised to ban tobacco sales to anyone under 21

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.  

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The tobacco legislation was originally sponsored by Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Health Care: Sewage testing gives clues of coronavirus | White House says Trump would take hydroxychloroquine again | Trump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K virus deaths 14 things to know today about coronavirus The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Unemployment claims now at 41 million with 2.1 million more added to rolls; Topeka mayor says cities don't have enough tests for minorities and homeless communities MORE (D-Va.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation COVID-19 workplace complaints surge; unions rip administration Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks MORE (R-Ky.), and has broad, bipartisan support from Sens. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats slam Trump for threatening to hold Michigan funds Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections Coronavirus drives record number of complaints to consumer bureau MORE (D-Hawaii), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungHillicon Valley: House FISA bill in jeopardy | Democrats drop controversial surveillance measure | GOP working on legislation to strip Twitter of federal liability protections GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Lawmakers introduce bill to invest 0 billion in science, tech research MORE (R-Ind.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinFrustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Senate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight MORE (D-Ill.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCoronavirus and America's economic miracle Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project Romney defends Joe Scarborough, staffer's widower: 'Enough already' 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.