WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump Friday announced that his administration will pursue raising the federal minimum age to purchase electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 as a way to combat youth vaping, reports AP News.
“We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so,” said Trump, speaking outside the White House on Friday.
More than one-third of states have already raised their tobacco sales age to 21. To make it a federal law, congressional action is needed. The effort already has bipartisan support in Congress, including a bill introduced in May by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“We really want to make sure we’re data driven on this and striking the right balance between adult choice and protecting kids,” said Joe Grogan, a top policy advisor to President Trump. Grogran said the White House believes e-cigarettes are “a viable alternative to combustible cigarettes.”
Some tobacco companies, including JUUL, support a federal “Tobacco 21” law to reverse teen use of both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products amid the current underage vaping health epidemic.
Raising the age will limit the supply and access to young adults, especially those who are used to getting it from older friends. One in four high school students reported vaping in the previous month in the latest federal survey of teen tobacco use. JUUL was cited as the top brand among high schoolers who use e-cigarettes, with mint the popular flavor. Last week, the company announced it voluntarily would stop selling mint-flavored pods, leaving only tobacco and menthol flavors on the market.