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McConnell Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Raise Tobacco Age To 21

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., introduced bipartisan legislation on Monday that would raise the nationwide minimum age to buy all tobacco products from 18 to 21.

McConnell noted the new minimum age would extend to e-cigarettes and vaping devices, calling youth vaping a "public health crisis."

"It's our responsibility as parents and public servants to do everything we can to keep these harmful products out of high schools and out of youth culture," McConnell said. "We need to put the national age of purchase at 21. That's why I'm introducing this legislation."

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, D-Virg., who like McConnell represents a major tobacco producing state, joined the Republican leader in introducing the bill.

"With this bipartisan legislation, Senator McConnell and I are working to address one of the most significant public health issues facing our nation today," Kaine said.

He added, "Raising the tobacco age to 21 is a critical part of our efforts to improve public health and keep tobacco products out of schools and away from our children."

The legislation reportedly does not include an exemption for members of the military as previously pledged by McConnell.

Politico noted public health groups have expressed cautious support for the bill but warned the Senators of efforts to add language that would weaken its impact or benefit tobacco companies.

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