Health and Science

Congress poised to raise minimum age to buy tobacco to 21 as spending bill passes House

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CAlif) holds her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. September 12, 2019.
Aurora Samperio | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a $1.4 trillion spending package that includes a provision prohibiting the sale of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products to people under the age of 21.

U.S. lawmakers on Monday negotiated a deal to add the provision, as well as other changes to health-care law, to the spending bill that funds the federal government through the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, where it's expected to pass later this week. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said President Donald Trump intends to sign it into law.

The legislation would raise the federal minimum age to purchase cigarette and e-cigarette products from 18 to 21.

Congress has been pushing to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products as public health officials attempt to combat a teen vaping epidemic. Research shows that teens who vape are more likely than their peers to turn to cigarettes.

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Nineteen states, as well as the District of Columbia, already have laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 21, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group.

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