Statement of Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, in response to the introduction of the Tobacco-Free Youth Act by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a bipartisan effort to raise the federal minimum age of sales for tobacco products to 21 nationwide:
“The American Lung Association is pleased to support the bipartisan Tobacco-Free Youth Act introduced today by Senators McConnell and Kaine. As introduced, this bill is an important step forward, but we urge them to include a faster implementation of the Food and Drug Administration’s enforcement of the new minimum age of sale. When passed, raising the minimum age of sale will reduce the number of young people who use and become addicted to tobacco products, and as a result, save hundreds of thousands of lives by reducing the disease and premature death that these products cause.
“Raising the minimum age of sale to 21 is one of the important policies the American Lung Association has called on Congress to pass in the 116th Congress, along with removing all flavored tobacco products from the market, restricting online sales of tobacco products and increasing funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Office on Smoking and Health. The Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control” report details these and other vital state and federal policies that when fully implemented, will work to end our nation’s tobacco epidemic.
“Reflecting the strong public support for this policy, there are now multiple federal bills introduced to raise the minimum age of sale of tobacco products to 21. The American Lung Association looks forward to working with Leader McConnell and Senator Kaine, in addition to Senators Schatz, Young, Durbin and Romney, to ensure that a strong, bipartisan bill to raise the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products becomes law.”
Learn more about youth tobacco use and Tobacco 21 legislation at Lung.org/tobacco21. For media interested in speaking with a policy or health expert about youth tobacco use, Tobacco 21 laws, e-cigarettes and lung health, contact Allison MacMunn at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.