McConnell: Bill to raise minimum age to buy tobacco expected to pass
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVQ) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he expects Congress to approve a bill by the end of the year that would raise the nationwide minimum age to buy tobacco products, including vaping products and e-cigarettes.
The Republican from Kentucky introduced the bill, Tobacco-Free Youth Act, with Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia. The bill would raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18-to-21.
Having come from states with a long history of tobacco production and use, the senators say they want to help protect young people from the dangers of nicotine.
Regretfully, Kentucky has some of the highest cancer rates in the country.
The Commonwealth unfortunately leads the nation with 34-percent of cancer cases tied directly to smoking, according to national health statistics.
Alarmingly 45-percent of Kentucky high school students report having tried vaping, according to Senator McConnell.
About 95-percent of adult smokers began using tobacco products before they turned 21. Studies have shown that the brain is still developing throughout teenage years, and nicotine use on a young brain can stunt growth and make it harder to focus, learn, or control impulses. Nicotine use also can increase the risk of addiction to other drugs, according to McConnell.