There is a bipartisan measure in Congress to ban sales of tobacco to people under the age of 21 that is expected to pass at the end of the year, as legislators exploit a senseless scare about vaping to create a new prohibition against tobacco.
“It shall be unlawful for any retailer to sell a tobacco product to any person younger than 21 years of age,” the language in the measure reads.
Congress is expected to put the provision into a spending bill at the end of the year. The deal has yet to be finalized, but both sides are anticipated to put it in the legislation. It is believed to be little more than a formality at this point.
Influential members of both parties are reportedly behind the proposal. Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz (HI) and Tim Kaine (VA) support the measure as well as Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). Republicans who support the measure include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Todd Young (IN), and failed 2012 presidential contender Mitt Romney (UT).
“Since I introduced my legislation earlier this year to raise the minimum nationwide purchase age for tobacco products from 18 to 21, stories of vaping related illnesses and deaths — especially among young people — have stunned Kentucky and the nation,” McConnell said in a statement.
“I’m grateful to the communities, the health advocates and my fellow elected officials, including President Trump and Senators Todd Young and Mitt Romney, who have joined Senator Kaine and me to address this urgent crisis and keep these dangerous products away from our children,” he added.
Momentum to prohibit tobacco to certain adults grew with a sustained push at the state level. In recent years, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington have prohibited tobacco for adults aged 18 to 20.
Sen. Romney has led the way on fomenting hysteria against vaping in recent months, begging Congress to take action against this new scourge.
“We need to take action to provide authority for you to be able to regulate effectively these products, and at this stage, I understand… Sen. Murkowski has put in place legislation, or proposed legislation over a year ago to restrict flavors and yet we don’t act,” Romney said last month.
Congress needs to act now to address the vaping epidemic. My legislation:
✔️Bans non-tobacco vaping flavors
✔️Requires cartridges to be tamper-proof
✔️Applies excise tax to e-cigarettes
✔️Uses the tax for education
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) November 13, 2019
It looks like Romney will be getting his wish by the end of the year. In a familiar occurrence, a bipartisan caucus of control freaks in Washington D.C. have decided that prohibition is the way to go.