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UPDATE 1-U.S. Senate leader McConnell calls for raising minimum age to buy tobacco products

tobacco products@ (Adds details from press release; updates shares)

April 18 (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday he plans to introduce legislation to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco products, including vaping devices, to 21 from 18 to curb their "epidemic" use among teens.

McConnell said https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ID=C7912202-0742 - 4 4 0 4 - 8 7 7 5 - 8 8 3 6 F 2 6 1 D D E F the bill would be introduced in May.

Shares of Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc, which owns a 35 percent stake in e-cigarette maker Juul, fell 3 percent on the news. Philip Morris International and U.S-listed shares of British American Tobacco were also trading lower.

"For some time, I've been hearing from the parents who are seeing an unprecedented spike in vaping among their teenage children... Unfortunately, it's reaching epidemic levels around the country," the Republican Senator from Kentucky said in a statement.

E-cigarette makers are already under pressure from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which laid out plans in March to clamp down on the use of the popular nicotine devices among teens. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)