Congressional smoking age increase gains steam


Congress is pushing to raise the smoking age to 21 from 18, with a bipartisan vanguard of lawmakers leading the charge.

Senator Bill Cassidy, a doctor, backs the age increase, and says its been interesting to see which leaders are on board with the change, including the Senate Majority Leader…

“I think that it is interesting that Mitch McConnell who is from a tobacco producing state, and I think that it is reasonable.”

Who supports raising the smoking age?

McConnell is being joined by Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s Vice President pick in 2016.

The tobacco age increase is part of a large healthcare bill that just cleared a US Senate committee 20-3, and the legislation is expected to see the floor within the next month. Cassidy says passing this law may keep young people from developing an addiction early in their adulthood.

“It changes the brain, it gets the brain wanting to have more nicotine, and that is particularly true when someone starts smoking at an earlier age.”

How many Louisianans will be effected by raising the smoking age?

The CDC estimates that 22.8 percent of Louisiana adults are smokers, and studies have shown a significant majority of those adult smokers took up the habit before they turned 21. Cassidy says it won’t kill all underage smoking, and…

“I’m not naive, kids are going to sneak cigarette, but if you can make it more difficult then you can make it less likely to happen, and fewer kids smoking.”

The Louisiana Legislature rejected a state level effort to raise the smoking age to 21 in the last session with a bill that even the American Heart Association opposed.

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