Congress inching closer to raising legal smoking age to 21
WASHINGTON — A spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of the year will include a provision that raises the age to 21 to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News on Monday.
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, has been pushing for the 21-and-older standard for years, and it’s gained momentum recently with cross-aisle support from Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Todd Young, R-Ind.
Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., from the tobacco-growing Bluegrass State, has embraced the idea.
Statewide laws against tobacco sales to people under age 21 are now in 19 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, according to the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation.
CORRECTION (Dec. 16, 2019, 1:59 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated one of the Republican senators working on the issue. It is Mitt Romney of Utah, not Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Leigh Ann Caldwell reported from Washington, David K. Li reported from New York.