Attached to the massive defense spending bill signed into law Friday was a directive that raised the federal minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.
President Donald Trump highlighted the measure in a tweet.
The age change was accompanied by legislation that created 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers, repealed the "Cadillac tax" on employer-provided health care plans, and other add-ons to the $1.4 trillion defense spending bill.
As CNN reported, several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been pushing for the federal government to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, which includes cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and vaping devices. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind.; Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.; and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii are among the lawmakers who supported changing the age limit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco among middle and high school students decreased from 2011 to 2019. However, the number of kids who use e-cigarettes and vaping devices — products initially designed to help adults quit smoking — went up during the same period. Coupled with the mysterious lung ailment that has resulted in dozens of deaths and thousands of injuries, the calls to tighten restrictions on vaping and e-cigarettes have increased in recent months.
"The Vapor Technology Association has advocated for raising the age to 21 for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and believes, along with the public health groups, that this is the most significant step that can be taken to reduce youth access and use," Vapor Technology Association executive director Tony Abboud told CNN. The group lobbies for the protection for the vaping industry.
Also discussed has been a federal ban on nearly all flavored vaping devices and e-cigarettes in order to curb the use among kids, but Trump has thus far declined to take that action — reportedly for political reasons.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 19 states and hundreds of localities have already raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.