Next month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will introduce a bill that will seek to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 across the United States.
McConnel will become the most powerful lawmaker to call for such a measure on the federal level. While the text of the bill is not out, McConnell said his bill will include an exemption for those serving in the military.
“My legislation will be similar to the current system, where retailers have the responsibility to verify the age of anyone buying tobacco products—we’ll just raise the age from 18 to 21,” said McConnell at a press conference with Kentucky healthcare professional and local legislators. “Twelve states have enacted laws to raise the purchasing age of tobacco products to 21. These bills will serve as helpful guidance as I craft my federal legislation. For example, my bill will include an exemption for men and women who serve in uniform, similar to state T21 laws.”
This is at least the third different piece of legislation seeking to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco during this legislative session. Earlier this month, Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala. introduced H.R. 2084, a bill that would also raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 federally. This week, two Democratic House members announced the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019, which seeks to increase the minimum to purchase tobacco amongst another of other anti-tobacco measures.