McConnell Backs Raising Tobacco Age to 21

His move was praised by Altria Group, which makes Marlboro cigarettes and holds a large stake in Juul vaping devices.

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Drew Gerber
April 19, 2019, 10:13 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "will introduce legislation to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, calling it a 'top priority' when the Senate returns from recess in late April."

McConnell's "move comes one day after he announced his reelection campaign and shows the changing politics of tobacco. While tobacco has long been a key industry in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell said he wants to change the law to discourage vaping and teenage nicotine addiction and improve Kentucky’s public health."

"The move shows a tack toward pragmatic legislating for McConnell, who as Senate leader has primarily focused on confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees in recent weeks. But he said he will move to fast-track his new proposal, which mimics new state laws across the country that raise the tobacco purchasing age, and said his bill is part of moving the Bluegrass State away from the 'tobacco culture' on which it was 'so dependent, for so long.'" (Politico)

"Tobacco stocks fell on the news. Altria Group Inc. dropped as much as 5.2 percent."

"Altria Group Inc., the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, has supported efforts to raise the legal age of purchase to 21 for all tobacco products, and Howard Willard, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer praised McConnell’s move. Altria has a $12.8 billion stake in Juul Labs Inc., which makes the vape device most popular with teens. Juul requires people who buy its products on its website to be 21." (Bloomberg)


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