Senate passes bill banning tobacco sales to anyone under 21
The Senate voted to permanently ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 on Thursday.
The rule was included as a provision in the spending bill that was passed in the upper chamber and now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
Several senators had originally sponsored independent legislation to enact the rule, but partisan debates derailed that bill. The provision in the funding bill is supported by many major public health groups and has the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
“I’m proud the Senate approved legislation today including our Tobacco-Free Youth Act to help address this urgent crisis and keep these dangerous products away from our children. It is because of my position as a tobacco state Senator that I introduced this bill, and it is because of my role as Senate Majority Leader that President Trump will be signing the Tobacco-Free Youth Act into law by week’s end,” McConnell said in a statement.
“Passage of this lifesaving legislation is an enormous victory for the health of our young people. By raising the age to buy tobacco products nationwide, we can save 223,000 lives and reduce youth tobacco use,” added Kaine.
Lawmakers have expressed confidence that raising the tobacco purchasing age will help curb youth tobacco use as debate continues to rage over banning certain flavors of vaping products.
Tobacco companies have come out in support of raising the purchasing age to 21 largely in an effort to try to prevent more stringent regulations from being debated in Washington.