Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lobbied for new bill that would block all tobacco and vape purchases for Americans under 21 According to an announcement today c & # 39; was reported by Bloomberg.
In a statement todayMcConnell introduced the bill as a response to the public health risks of vaping in adolescence. "For some time, I've heard parents attending an unprecedented spike of vaping in their teenage children", McConnell said. "In addition, we all know people who started smoking very young and had difficulty quitting as adults, but epidemics reach epidemic levels across the country." McConnell said he would turn to the eleven states that have already passed tobacco laws 21 to come up with ideas.
But vaping companies do not seem concerned. Juul, who sold 35 percent to Altria tobacco giant for $ 12.8 billion last year, applauded McConnell for today 's announcement. "JUUL Labs is committed to eliminating combustible cigarettes, the world's leading cause of preventable death, and to achieve this goal, we must limit the use of steam-based products by young people," he said. said in an email the CEO of Juul, Kevin Burns. "The tobacco laws 21 are fighting against one of the biggest contributors to this problem – sharing among peers of the same age – and it has been shown that they significantly reduce the rates of use by young people."
This support may have to do with Juul's problems with the Food and Drug Administration. Over the last year, Juul has been eating under the blaze of the FDA for its massive popularity among young people. So, supporting a higher minimum age could help his image and alleviate some of the regulatory pressure. From an industry perspective, moving is a relatively low risk because the product is already integrated into the population and people under 21 can already be drug addicts, he says. Kathleen Hoke, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland. "We can change that to 21 but we will work hard at the state and local level to get cigarettes or vape products or chew the hands of 18 to 20 year olds," he said. she says.
At least on the surface, raising the legal minimum age for smoking allows McConnell to align public health advocates who insisted that the age of smoking (and vaping) be raised to 21 years. The goal is to prevent children from starting to live a nicotine addiction all their life, as about 90% of current smokers have consumed a cigarette at the age of 18. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 2015 Report of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine projected there would be a drop of 12 percent smoking by 2100 if the legal age to buy tobacco products was immediately increased.
But the success of the bill will depend on how it is developed. Rob Crane, a professor of family medicine at Ohio State University and president of the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, is skeptical that she will hold tobacco retailers responsible for selling to minors. Over 450 cities and counties The tobacco laws 21 were adopted. "What works is what works when you establish health departments under civil law enforcement," he says. "For a dishonest retailer who continues to sell, there is a risk of license suspension."
But if the law ends up penalizing employees of convenience stores who sell vaps and tobacco products to children, the retailer who profits from it proceeds unscrupulously, he says. In the end, Crane is skeptical about the motives behind the bill, regardless of its form. "All of this is a public relations strategy aimed at keeping Juul away from the FDA."