- Congress plans to use end-of-the-year spending packages to ban tobacco sales to individuals under the age of 21.
- The new restriction would apply to both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
- The fiscal 2020 spending packages would also allocate $25 million to federal agencies for gun violence research and repeal several health taxes.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Congress plans to use end-of-the-year spending packages to ban tobacco sales to individuals under the age of 21, as the proposal gains support on both sides of the aisle.
A set of spending bills to fund the federal government includes a provision that would raise the current legal age to purchase tobacco from 18, a senior congressional aide told Business Insider on Monday. The new restriction would apply to both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Against a backdrop of growing concerns about e-cigarettes, proposals for tighter restrictions on tobacco have gained traction with the GOP after years of support on the left. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from the tobacco-growing state of Kentucky, introduced a bill to raise the legal smoking age earlier this year.
“I’m confident many of my colleagues will agree that protecting our young people from starting tobacco use at an early age can have remarkable, long-term health benefits for Kentucky and the country,” McConnell said in April.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vast majority of smokers in the US first try cigarettes before the age of 18.
The fiscal 2020 spending packages would also allocate $25 million to federal agencies for gun violence research and repeal several health taxes. Those include the so-called Cadillac tax, which would have applied to expensive health insurance plans in 2022, and two others designed to fund Obamacare.
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The House is expected to pass the bills Tuesday, sending them to the Senate. They need to be passed this week in order to avert a partial government shutdown. Temporary legislation to fund the federal government, known as a continuing resolution, expires Friday at midnight.
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