Tobacco 21: ‘An Important Step Forward’

Health Organizations Applaud Leader McConnell And Sen. Kaine For Their Bill That Would Raise The Sales Age Of Tobacco Products To 21, Saying It ‘Will Help Remove Tobacco From High Schools,’ ‘Be Instrumental In Stemming The Epidemic Of Vaping,’ And Could ‘Save Hundreds Of Thousands Of Lives’


National Health Organizations: ‘Raising The Minimum Age Of Sale Will Reduce The Number Of Young People Who Use And Become Addicted To Tobacco Products’

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY CANCER ACTION NETWORK (ACS CAN) President Lisa Lacasse: “Today’s bipartisan action by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Tim Kaine is another welcome indication that Congress is taking the alarming crisis of increased youth tobacco use seriously and is committed to taking action. Raising the federal age of sale for tobacco products from 18 to 21 is … necessary to ensure a new generation of Americans do not become addicted … and face increased risk for tobacco-related cancers.” (American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Press Release, 5/20/2019)

AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION CEO Nancy Brown: “We commend Majority Leader McConnell and Sen. Kaine for prioritizing the health of teens and young adults with a bill to raise the national sales age for tobacco products to 21. We urge strong bipartisan support for this bill as written … Nearly 90 percent of adult smokers start the habit before age 18, and most 15- to 17-year-olds get their tobacco from friends who have turned 18. Raising the sales age to 21 will help remove tobacco from high schools altogether.” (American Heart Association, Press Release, 5/20/2019)

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY President Richard Kovacs, MD, FACC: “The American College of Cardiology is committed to reducing youth tobacco usage. It is common knowledge that tobacco has long been associated with heart disease and is responsible for an estimated 6 million deaths a year…. The Tobacco-Free Youth Act of 2019 will help prevent chronic disease and protect public health by restricting youth access to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. On behalf of our patients, ACC members thank the Senators for their efforts to reduce youth tobacco use and stand ready to partner with them—and other members of Congress—to enact strong legislation establishing a federal age of 21 for the sale of all tobacco products.” (American College of Cardiology, Press Release, 5/21/2019)

AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION National President and CEO Harold Wimmer: “The American Lung Association is pleased to support the bipartisan Tobacco-Free Youth Act introduced today by Senators McConnell and Kaine. As introduced, this bill is an important step forward … When passed, raising the minimum age of sale will reduce the number of young people who use and become addicted to tobacco products, and as a result, save hundreds of thousands of lives by reducing the disease and premature death that these products cause.” (American Lung Association, Press Release, 5/20/2019)

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY (ASCO) President Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO: “I am pleased to endorse the ‘Tobacco-Free Youth Act’ (S. 1541). Thank you for introducing this important legislation which would raise the purchasing age from 18 to 21 for tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, and alternative nicotine products nationwide….  We are committed to policies that will contribute to the reduction of tobacco use, which will in turn prevent some cancers and other smoking-related diseases…. [W]e have been encouraged by the growing support to enact a strong, bipartisan bill that would raise the federal age of sale for tobacco products to 21, and we commend you for your leadership on this issue.” (Monica M. Bertagnolli, American Society of Clinical Oncology, Letter to Sens. McConnell and Kaine, 5/21/2019)

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS President Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP: “Tobacco is a major threat to children’s health and tobacco addiction starts during adolescence. Raising the purchase age from 18 to 21 has long been a priority of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and we applaud this policy’s inclusion in the Tobacco-Free Youth Act, a bill introduced today by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).”(American Academy of Pediatrics, Press Release, 5/20/2019)

AMERICAN OSTEOPATHIC ASSOCIATION And Osteopathic Specialty Organizations: “[W]e write to express our support for the Tobacco-Free Youth Act. Your legislation would raise the nationwide minimum age to buy tobacco products, including vaping products, to 21. This change would support smoking prevention among a population that is particularly susceptible to addiction, whose brains are still developing, and among whom nicotine use can have long-term developmental harms…. As osteopathic physicians who care for tobacco users each day and witness the toll these products take on their health, we welcome this policy change…. [T]he strongest public health approach to decrease tobacco use nationwide is effectively preventing people from ever starting to use tobacco products. The Tobacco-Free Youth Act, which prohibits the sale of all tobacco products to people under the age of 21, is critical to this effort.” (American Osteopathic Association and 14 Osteopathic Health Specialty Organizations, Letter to Sens. McConnell and Kaine, 5/20/2019)

UNITE TO PREVENT CANCER Founder Dr. Ron DePinho, MD: “Raising the age of tobacco purchase from 18 to 21 is a critical step forward that will profoundly improve the health of our children and future generations. As a physician and parent, I applaud Leader McConnell and Senator Kaine for introducing the Tobacco Free Youth Act, a bipartisan effort to help prevent young people from starting down a path of addiction and premature death.” (Dr. Ron DePinho, Statement, 5/20/2019)


Kentucky Health Organizations: ‘This Bipartisan Bill … Will Be Instrumental In Stemming The Epidemic Of Vaping That Is Afflicting Children’

KENTUCKY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: “The Kentucky Medical Association strongly supports raising the minimum age to purchase all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.  The Association applauds Majority Leader McConnell for his leadership in introducing legislation that will accomplish this important health care aim.” (Kentucky Medical Association, Press Release, 5/20/2019)

KENTUCKY HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION Senior Vice President Nancy Galvagni: “Kentucky hospitals support making tobacco products more difficult for young people to purchase by raising the legal purchasing age.... Hospitals across the commonwealth see the devastation to people’s health caused by tobacco use on a daily basis. We applaud Senator McConnell for introducing this legislation, which will help protect the youth of Kentucky from suffering that fate.” (Statement, 5/20/2019)

BEN CHANDLER, FOUNDATION FOR A HEALTHY KENTUCKY President and CEO: “Since Sen. McConnell stood in our offices just last month and announced plans to file this bill, new data has come out showing that youth e-cigarette use in Kentucky doubled over the past two years…. We’re gratified that the provisions we sought to help reduce this explosion in youth vaping and other tobacco use have been included in the bill: it covers all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes as well as heated products … We urge Congress to pass this bipartisan bill quickly …” (Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Press Release, 5/20/2019)

KENTUCKY YOUTH ADVOCATES Executive Director Dr. Terry Brooks: “Today, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Tim Kaine filed the Tobacco-Free Youth Act to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products nationwide from age 18 to 21. This bipartisan bill is a hedge of protection around the young people of the Commonwealth, and the nation more broadly, as it will be instrumental in stemming the epidemic of vaping that is afflicting children as young as middle school age. And these harmful products are packed with nicotine, which is highly addictive and can cause lasting damage to the developing brain. Increasing the minimum sale age for all tobacco products to 21 offers a commonsense way to keep harmful tobacco products out of reach of our kids and prevent life-long addictions to nicotine. As always, Leader McConnell has meshed principles and pragmatism into a bill that is commonsense and effective when it comes to addressing this emerging health threat to America’s youth.” (Kentucky Youth Advocates, Press Release, 5/20/2019)



Related Issues: Health Care, Tobacco 21