US to raise age limit for smoking and vaping from 18 to 21

In recent months, e-cigarettes and the ‘vaping epidemic’ have dominated the news headlines. Now, Congress has finalised a bill that would raise the age limit – not just for e-cigarettes, but also for tobacco products – from 18 to 21 in the US.

This was one of many issues that’s gained support in congress so far, and as it’s already been approved by the house, it will go to the White House, where Donald Trump will be required to sign. He has already indicated that he will approve the law.

This bill extends current policies that have been adopted by 19 states that under 21’s shouldn’t be allowed to purchase tobacco. The law will also address teen use of e-cigarettes, which has soared in the last decade and is a cause for concern for the FDA.

Earlier in the year, FDA commissioner, Dr. Michael Gottleib, said reducing teen vaping was a primary goal. He has been very critical of manufacturer JUUL, which is one of the most popular brands, for, according to Gottleib, purposely targeting young consumers in its marketing.

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, welcomed the law, saying, “Kentucky continues to punch above its weight in Washington as I use my position as Majority Leader to advance Kentucky priorities, such as my bipartisan bill with Senator Tim Kaine, to stem the tide of early nicotine addiction among youth in Kentucky and across the nation.”

He added: “It is because of my position as a tobacco state senator that I introduced this bill, and it is because of my role as Senate Majority Leader that President Trump will be signing the Tobacco-Free Youth Act into law by week’s end.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said that the vote was a huge victory for public health. He said, “By raising the age to buy tobacco products nationwide, we can save 223,000 lives and reduce youth tobacco use”, adding that it will be extremely helpful in stopping the teen vaping epidemic.

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