By: Angela Garrity
U.S. lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation today in the House and Senate that would increase the minimum age to purchase all tobacco products to 21, across the nation, CNBC reports. The bill also prohibits retailers from selling tobacco products to anyone under the age of 30 without photo identification. The bill includes all deemed tobacco products such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes and cigars.
This bill is known as the Tobacco to 21 Act and its announcement comes on the heels of Senator Mitch McConnell’s statement of introducing his own legislation to increase the minimum purchase age in this country.
McConnell’s announcement was not met with open arms from public health groups, as they fear it will be riddled with exclusions for certain groups.
The likelihood of Congress raising the tobacco age limit at a federal level this year is high with support from both parties in both houses of Congress. Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Chris Stewart, R-Utah introduced legislation in the House while Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Todd Young, R-Ind., did so in the Senate.
“Unlike other bills drafted by the industry, our bill has no special-interest carve-outs or limitations on state and local governments,” DeGette said in a statement. “Unlike other bills, our bill was drafted with one simple goal in mind and that’s to protect public health by keeping tobacco products out of the hands of young people.”
Public health groups, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and American Heart Association, support the Tobacco to 21 Act proposed legislation.
If passed, the legislation would be effective January 1, 2020.
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