Congress set to raise age to purchase tobacco to 21
SARASOTA- On Tuesday, The US House of Representative passed their spending bill, which included legislation that raises the age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.
Doctors and anti-smoking groups have been working for years to raise the age to buy tobacco, and they could see that by the end of the week.
“We’ve been fighting this battle for so long,” Dr. Kirk Voelker said. “We’re just on the precipice of a real victory and that’s very important to us.”
Dr. Kirk Voelker says the move is especially important as even more teens are becoming addicted.
“With vaping and the nicotine bolus that they get from vaping,” Dr. Voelker said. “We’re seeing more and more kids that are addicted to vaping, either through vaping or cigarettes, and it’s raising a whole new generation of people addicted to nicotine.”
Dr. Voelker says raising the purchase age to 21 will help keep tobacco and nicotine out of the hands of teens with developing brains.
“A person’s brain doesn’t fully mature until they are about 21 physiologically,” Dr. Voelker said. “If they get exposed to nicotine before that time, there’s actually an increased chance they will be a nicotine addict.”
It could also mean that they’re younger friends will not be exposed to tobacco products.
“And it may be that by raising it to 21,” Dr. Voelker said. “We may have people who are 18-19 exposed to it whose brains are more mature, and keeping it away from those 15-16 year olds.”
Which will help their brains develop, before they are exposed.
“Then their decision making process is more mature,” Dr. Voelker said. “They are less likely to be physiologically addicted, and it is a choice that they can make at that point.”
The Senate is expected to pass the spending bill later this week, and then it heads to the President for his signature.