USA Today is reporting that Republican Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell, is introducing a bill within the next month for a nationwide increase to 21 for all purchases of tobacco and vaping products. McConnell, made this announcement during a joint news conference in his home state with Ben Chandler, the president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and two other state legislators.
Ironically, Kentucky leads the nation with 34% of cancers from smoking related illnesses.
Tobacco Free Kids expressed strong support for “effective federal legislation” to increase the age to 21, federally, however also stated the group has not seen the specifics of the proposal Senator McConnell has and cannot comment.
The anti-vaping group did support bills introduced in the last congressional session by Senator Schatz of Hawaii, DeGette of Colorado, as these former bills are expected to be re-introduced to their respective states soon.
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said it was "deeply concerned" that tobacco companies have worked to add special interest provisions to state and federal bills that shield the industry from other regulations to protect kids and public health, such as prohibitions on flavored tobacco products.
"It is critical that Congress enact strong Tobacco 21 legislation that is free of special interest provisions that benefit the industry," the group said.
In particular, the campaign opposes any provisions that would benefit the tobacco industry by creating a new definition of "vapor product" which includes the IQOS product.
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