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Indiana Senator pushes to raise tobacco purchase age to 21

Posted at 8:22 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 20:22:01-04

CARMEL — How young is too young to buy tobacco products?

That's a question the United States Senator Todd Young, R-Indiana, is trying to answer, as he pushes to increase the age to buy and use tobacco products in the country.

Sen. Young is proposing to increase the age from 18 to 21 to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

He says many 18-year-olds will buy tobacco products and give them to children in schools. The Senator discussed the idea with the medical community at Carmel High School on Friday.

Sen. Young also brought up the idea of being able to serve in the military but unable to buy tobacco.

"I don't think we should offer lower health standards to those men and women; I think we ought to be taking care of them. Moreover, this is a military readiness issue," Sen. Young said. "Top military brass, generals, admirals, consistently indicate that the disease affects of tobacco use is an epidemic and endemic to our United States military."

Young said when he graduated from Carmel High School in 1990, there was a smoking lounge for students to smoke cigarette or cigars. He said he'd discussed the legislation with other senators in Washington, and it has a good chance of passing.

Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Sen. Young held a press conference on Wednesday with anti-tobacco and public health advocates in support of their bipartisan bill "Tobacco to 21 Act."

In timely fashion, Walmart is set to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products in its stores to 21 in July.