The pressure for a federal law requiring those purchasing tobacco to be 21 reached new levels today when four members of Congress—representing both sides of the aisle and both chambers of Congress—introduced a new bill that would increase the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 across the United States.
The bill, known as the Tobacco to 21 Act, is a clean increase, simply changing the law from 18 to 21. It has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah; while the Senate version is co-sponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind.
Schatz introduced a similar bill during the last session of Congress, it garnered from 11 other Democratic senators. He also authored similar legislation in the 114th Congress that had identical results.
This marks the fourth different piece of legislation that would increase the tobacco purchasing age nationally to be introduced or announced this month:
- H.R. 2084 — Introduced by Rep. Robert Aderholt, R.-Ala.
- H.R. 2330 — Introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., and Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla.
- Sen. Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky., has announced he will introduce a bill next month.
- Tobacco to 21 Act
Unlike H.R. 2330, the Tobacco to 21 Act only addresses increasing the minimum purchasing age to 21. It does not make any changes to the laws regarding flavored tobacco, online sales of cigars or the users fees collected on tobacco products by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
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Featured Image By Scrumshus (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons