Tobacco purchasing age raised to 21 nationwide

Virginia

"This will have an enormous, positive impact on America's public health," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who spearheaded the legislation with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The legal age to purchase all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is now 21.

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed the new federal spending package, which included the Tobacco Free Youth Act, bipartisan legislation spearheaded by Virginia Senator Tim Kaine and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“This will have an enormous, positive impact on America’s public health,” said Kaine, who referenced a 2015 National Institute of Medicine study that found increasing the legal age to 21 would reduce the yearly number of premature deaths in the U.S. by 221,000. The same study found that raising the smoking age would reduce smoking among young people by about 8 percent, or one in eight people.

According to the CDC, one in three high school students and one in eight middle school students say they’ve seen some type of tobacco product in the past 30 days.

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