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Schatz, Durbin Joint Statement On McConnell’s Tobacco To 21 Legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) released the following statement on legislation introduced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to raise the federal tobacco age of sale to 21.

“We are pleased to see Majority Leader McConnell has joined us in calling for raising the legal smoking and vaping age to 21 nationwide. However, his bill would force each state to pass individual laws or risk losing critical substance abuse prevention and treatment funding, in the midst of an opioid epidemic. We are proud that 14 states have already done this—but forcing state action creates a dangerous loophole that gives the tobacco industry an opening to intensify their efforts at the state level to undermine strong anti-tobacco proposals, such as regulations on flavored tobacco products. Big Tobacco’s fingerprints should be nowhere near this effort. We strongly urge Leader McConnell to join us in cleanly raising the tobacco age to save lives and prevent youth addiction, and work with us on additional efforts, including cracking down on kid-friendly flavors.”

Last month, Schatz and Durbin introduced clean, bipartisan legislation with U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21.