The Trump administration passed a bill on December 27 of last year, ending the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. The bill came after the administration faced public pressure to pass legislation on the rising rates of teen vaping and vaping related deaths.
As of January 21, there has been a total of 60 vaping-related deaths, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The average age of those 60 that have died is 51, and range from ages 15-75. 2,711 people have also been hospitalized due to vaping.
Donald Trump has been outspoken about the issue of vaping in the past. “Vaping has become a very big business as I understand it,” Trump told
the Associated Press. “Giant business in a very short amount of time. But we can’t allow people to get sick and we can’t have our youth to be so affected.”
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine introduced the bill to the Senate. While McConnell has a record of standing up for farmers when it comes to tobacco products, he has taken an anti-vape stance.
“Farmers don’t want their children to get hooked on tobacco products while they’re in middle or high school any more than any parents anywhere want that to happen,” McConnell told “Newsy News.” “Youth vaping is a public health crisis and it is our responsibility as parents and public servants to do whatever we can to keep these harmful products out of high schools and out of youth culture.”
The bill will have a significant impact on this generation of young smokers and on future generations. One of the main hopes for the bill is that high schools will see a dramatic drop in the number of e-cigarettes and tobacco products on campus. A 2015 report from the Institute of Medicine found raising the smoking age to 21 could prevent approximately 223,000 premature deaths among Americans born between 2000 and 2019.
E-cigarettes have played a major role in youth smoking. According to the National Tobacco Youth Survey, 28 percent of high school students admitted to using e-cigarettes in the past month compared to just 6 percent that admitted they used tobacco products.
The increasing numbers of vaping associated lung injury and death are clear indications of the need for people to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations and not vape,” said Georgia Department of Health Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey in an interview with Patch.com
“[The new bill] is good for the youth because the chances of lung cancer may be decreased because of not starting at a younger age,” said Tommie Rogers, a current GHC student. “When I was 18, you could smoke anywhere in public, at restaurants, offices, anywhere. The school even had an outside designated area to smoke.
“You have waited 18 years to smoke. You can wait 3 more,” said GHC student Eddie Gallanthen. Both Gallanthen and Rogers thought the age move was a good thing and both hope it leads to lower tobacco usage.