U.S. Senator Schatz looks to raise national smoking, vaping age

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FILE – In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 file photo, a woman using an electronic cigarette exhales a puff of smoke in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Massachusetts lawmakers have approved the nation’s toughest restrictions on flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol cigarettes. The ban was passed by the Senate early Thursday, Nov. 21, before the legislature broke for a holiday recess. It had earlier been passed by the state House of Representatives. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Legislation on smoking is expected to be signed into law by the president on Thursday, Dec. 19, according to U.S. Senator Brian Schatz.

According to Schatz, the legislation he authored will prohibit the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to anyone under the age of 21.

The legislation passed the Senate on Dec. 19.

“This is a big win for public health. Raising the minimum smoking and vaping age to 21 will protect our kids and save lives,” said Senator Schatz.

Every day, around 1,300 people die from smoking-related diseases, making tobacco the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Research from the National Academy of Medicine showed that raising the minimum legal age of sale of tobacco products to 21 nationwide would reduce the number of new tobacco users, decrease the smoking frequency by 12 percent, and save more than 220,000 lives per year from deaths related to smoking.

Around ninety-five percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21.

In 2015, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21. Since then, 18 states and the District of Columbia have followed Hawaii’s lead.

Schatz’s law will expand the minimum legal sale age nationwide.

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