U.S. Senators Introduce Tobacco 21 Bill

Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Sen. Kaine co-sponsored the federal measure.

May 22, 2019

WASHINGTON—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) on Monday joined together on a bill that would put the federal minimum tobacco buying age at 21, the Washington Post reports. The proposal comes as more states are mandating a 21 minimum age for tobacco and vaping products.

“Today, we are coming together to side with young people’s health,” said Kaine. “With this bipartisan legislation, Sen. McConnell and I are working to address one of the most significant public health issues facing our nation today.”

Last month, McConnell announced his intention of introducing the bill as part of his campaign to reduce e-cig use among teens. “We’ve heard from countless parents who have seen the youth vaping crisis firsthand,” he said. “Together, Sen. Kaine and I are addressing this public health crisis head-on. By making it more difficult for tobacco products to end up in the hands of middle school and high school students, we can protect our children and give them the opportunity to grow and develop into healthy adults.”

With McConnell’s support, the Tobacco-Free Youth Act will likely go to the Senate floor for a vote after passing through the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where Kaine is a member. Meanwhile, Altria and Juul Labs have both gone on record in favor of a federal minimum tobacco buying age of 21.