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McConnell Proposes Raising Smoking Age To 21, Tobacco Stocks Flicker

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McConnell Proposes Raising Smoking Age To 21, Tobacco Stocks Flicker

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he’ll introduce legislation to raise the legal age to buy tobacco to 21.

McConnell, a Republican who represents the traditional tobacco-producing state of Kentucky, said raising the age from 18 will be a top priority for the Senate when it returns to Washington later this month.

Tobacco stocks dropped on the news.

“I’ve been hearing from the parents who are seeing an unprecedented spike in vaping among their teenage children,” McConnell said in a statement. “We all know people who started smoking at a young age and who struggled to quit as adults. Unfortunately, it’s reaching epidemic levels around the country."

McConnell announced his proposal at a news conference in Louisville. 

“Far too often, 18-year-olds who are still in high school and can legally buy vaping devices are sharing them with their younger classmates,” McConnell said.

He said the legislation would still place the responsibility for verifying age on retailers and would simply raise the age to 21. Eleven states have already made that move.

McConnell also said the bill would include an exception for military members.

Tobacco Stocks Drop

Shares of cigarette maker Altria Group Inc (NYSE: MO) were down 2.55 percent at $54.75 at the time of publication. British American Tobacco Industries, p.l.c. (NYSE: BTI) saw its stock drop 1.39 percent to $39.81 and shares of Philip Morris International Inc (NYSE: PM) were down nearly 1 percent at $84.65.

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Posted-In: cigarettes Mitch McConnell tobacco VapingGovernment News Regulations Best of Benzinga

 

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