While the Tobacco 21 movement has been spreading across the country, an Alabama congressman is looking to make the change nationwide.
On Thursday, Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., introduced the Stopping Consumption of Tobacco by Teens Act in Congress, in hopes that the increase might go into effect across the country. The bill’s abbreviation, the SCOTT Act, is a nod to outgoing Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
“In 1984, Congress raised the national minimum drinking age to 21 after realizing the dangers of teenagers having easy access to alcohol,” Aderholt said via a press release. “Smoking is just as much of a danger to health and life as drinking, and even more so to those who are still young and impressionable.”
While the Alabama Republican acknowledges that his bill will not keep all tobacco out of the hands of teens and young adults, he feels it will make it more difficult for them to pick up smoking at a young age. While Aderholt’s bill is anti-tobacco, he has previously been a large advocate for premium cigars. Aderholt has previously been credited with helping the House version of spending bills pass with language that would exempt premium cigars from FDA control.
In addition, the bill would require age verification for the online sales of vaping products by requiring sellers to obtain the full name, birth date and address of a consumer, and then verify it via a third-party database. Then, when the package is delivered, it must be signed for by a person who is at least 21-years-old.
“This is bipartisan legislation that builds upon the work that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has done towards stemming the tide of youth adoption of vaping products over the past few years,” said Aderholt. “The fight to curb this epidemic will not end with his departure, as proven by this first step in taking tobacco out of the ready reach of underage children. Together, in a bipartisan manner, we have the opportunity to greatly decrease the dependency on tobacco for a new generation of Americans. Once passed, I think this legislation will be a testament to the legacy of Commissioner Gottlieb’s tenure at the Food & Drug Administration.”
The bill has already garnered a co-sponsor, Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif.
By Scrumshus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons