(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – State senators declined to do it, but one of Indiana’s U.S. senators wants Congress to raise the smoking age.
Republican Todd Young is among four authors of a bill to raise the smoking age to 21. 12 states have done it already — it passed an Indiana state Senate committee this year, but never made it to a vote in the full Senate.
Young says it’s the most achievable and significant thing Congress can do to lower health-care costs and save lives. He says smoking-related illnesses cost the U.S. $300 billion a year.
The bill would also make 21 the minimum age for vaping.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he supports raising the age and will introduce his own bill. Tobacco giants Altria and Philip Morris and e-cigarette manufacturer Juul have also come out in favor of the idea. Supporters are suspicious there could be loopholes which would undercut the law. Young says he’ll wait to see what McConnell’s bill says, but says his own proposal is a clean bill with no exemptions, and says McConnell should just sign on to that version. He says he has “hopes and confidence” the bill will become law.
Along with Young, the “Tobacco to 21 Act”‘s authors are Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).
Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana) (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)