(LOUISVILLE, Ky, May 20, 2019) U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today introduced legislation to raise the age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21 nationwide. The bill was cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky issued the following statement:
"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," said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "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; it prohibits sales to everyone under age 21 with no military exemption; it puts responsibility for compliance where it should be - on retailers, and it preserves the right of states to enact stricter laws.
"We urge Congress to pass this bipartisan bill quickly and states to begin getting their own T21 bills in order. Every extra day it takes to put this important legislation into effect is an opportunity for thousands more kids to access a tobacco product that can damage their developing brains now and cause debilitating health issues throughout their lives."
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About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $28 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth