McConnell to propose legislation to raise age to buy smoking products
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Senator Mitch McConnell was alongside former Kentucky congressman Ben Chandler Thursday to discuss a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products.
The Senate Majority Leader said raising the age from 18 to 21 would make it more difficult for teens to get their hands on devices, like e-cigarettes and vaping devices, adding that often times the teens get them from older classmates or friends.
McConnell said it’s an effort to protect children nationwide, while Chandler says there’s no room to play politics when it comes to keeping our children healthy.
“The health of our people, particularly the health of our children is a non-partisan issue if there ever was one,” Chandler said. "There is no time to waste in addressing the surge in youth vaping."
Kevin Burns, Chief Executive Officer of JUUL Labs, an electronic cigarette company, released this statement to WAVE 3 News in response to McConnell’s announcement:
“We commend Senator McConnell for announcing this legislation as we strongly support raising the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 and have been actively supporting legislation to do this at the federal level and in states across the country. JUUL Labs is committed to eliminating combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in the world and to accomplish that goal, we must restrict youth usage of vapor products. Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth usage rates. That is why we will continue to work with lawmakers across the country to enact these effective policies.”
Joking that he’s in a pretty good position to do, McConnell said he will introduce the legislation soon.
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