Following Hawaii’s lead, senators look to raise minimum smoking age nationwide

(Image: Gray TV)
(Image: Gray TV)
Published: May. 8, 2019 at 11:31 AM HST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) ― A Hawaii senator is in the middle of a growing effort to raise the legal smoking age to 21 nationwide.

U.S. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, is helping to lead the charge alongside Sens. Mitt Romney, Todd Young, and Dick Durbin.

The lawmakers say they want to raise the legal smoking age for smoking cigarettes and vaping.

Twelve states have already raised the age under their state laws. Hawaii was the first to do so.

And Schatz says the evidence is clear that raising the age limit for tobacco products would save lives.

“Between vaping and JUULing and combustible cigarettes, lots of kids are getting hooked on nicotine and that turns into a habit and that turns into cancer at the end of people's’ lives,“ said Schatz.

The senators also mentioned getting rid of flavored tobacco products that target children. They say that will also help in the fight to crack down on tobacco-related deaths.

A JUUL labs spokesperson said the company supports raising the smoking age to 21.

“We cannot fulfill our mission to provide the world’s one billion adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in this country, if youth-use continues unabated,” the company said.

"Tobacco 21 laws fight one of the largest contributors to this problem – sharing by legal-age peers – and they have been shown to dramatically reduce youth-use rates. That is why we will continue to work with lawmakers across the country to enact these effective policies.”

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