Senator McConnell Wants to Ban Under 21 Smoking and Vaping
As reported by Politico, Senator McConnell (R-KY) considers raising the purchase age of tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21 to be his top legislative priority.
Tobacco age restrictions are far from unprecedented. According to the American Journal of Public Health, a century ago, all but 2 states had a minimum age of legal access for tobacco (MLA) and 14 states had set the number at age 21. In case there is any question, McConnell’s primary concern is cigarettes but what has been framed as a teen vaping epidemic.
Why Age 21?
The obvious advantage of shifting the age of tobacco purchase to 21 is that it would eliminate the issue of high school students who are old enough to freely purchase nicotine products. Research has shown that most underage vapers get their e-cigs through social channels. This makes a federal tobacco 21 purchase law surprisingly scientific for an e-cig regulation.
Too many politicians remain obsessed with sweet vaping flavors and retro e-juice packaging that appeals to adult vapers. Last week, the most punitive set of e-cig restrictions yet were proposed. Complete with an Orwellian name, The Reversing Youth Tobacco Act, this mish-mosh includes every e-cig restriction this side of full prohibition.
This bill would have the peculiar impact of helping Juul solidify their position by eliminating all of their competition with the stroke of pen. The FDA is considering the opposite approach, by targeting the devices preferred by minors and banning prefilled vape pods.