Schatz Legislation To Raise Smoking, Vaping Age To 21 Included In Bipartisan Spending Deal

WASHINGTON – Legislation first authored by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) that will prohibit the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21 has been included in a bipartisan spending deal announced by congressional leaders today.

“This is a big win for public health. Raising the minimum smoking and vaping age to 21 will protect our kids and save lives,” said Senator Schatz.

Every day, approximately 1,300 people die from smoking-related diseases, making tobacco the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Research from the National Academy of Medicine shows that raising the minimum legal age of sale of tobacco products to 21 nationwide would reduce the number of new tobacco users, decrease smoking frequency by 12 percent, and save more than 220,000 lives from deaths related to smoking. Approximately ninety-five percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21.

In 2015, Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21. Since then, 18 states and the District of Columbia have followed Hawai‘i’s lead. Schatz’s provision will expand the minimum legal sale age nationwide.

At introduction, Schatz’s legislation was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

The bill is expected to pass Congress and be signed by the president this week.