There are a lot of major issues that Congress could be working on: border security, health care, reducing our debt. They aren’t that concerned with those issues. They have more important things to do.
What exactly is more important than those issues?
Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products.
Of course, this is of extreme importance to our country.
That is what Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, would have you believe.
McConnell will introduce legislation to raise the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.
The bill is named the “McConnell Bill.”
How original, Mitch.
He will introduce the McConnell Bill in May.
The bill will cover all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
McConnell released the following statement:
“For some time, I’ve been hearing from the parents who are seeing an unprecedented spike in vaping among their teenage children. In addition, 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.”
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few decades, you know that smoking is bad for you. Public advertisement campaigns have been successful at reducing the rate of cigarette smoking.
In the 1960s, over half the population of the country smoked cigarettes. Now, only 16% smoke cigarettes.
There is no need for more government interference in the tobacco market. It is just another example of the government pretending to be our mothers. They know what’s best for us.
It is well known that tobacco is dangerous. If young people want to take that risk when they are 18, go ahead; they are adults.
It is true that tobacco use is on the rise among younger people. It is up dramatically, mostly due to electronic cigarettes.
In 2018, the number of high school students using tobacco products increased by about 38%, according to the CDC. The rise of e-cigarettes rose 78%.
Many local and state governments have increased the age to buy tobacco to 21. Twelve states have pushed raising the buying age; 450 cities and counties have done the same.
However, McConnell’s bill is facing resistance from inside his own party.
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) comes from a tobacco-producing state. Recently, he ripped into the Food and Drug Administration for wanting to ban all menthol cigarettes.
McConnell’s bill has support from a surprising group: The tobacco industry.
Tobacco powerhouses Altria, British American Tobacco and Juul have announced support for the bill.
Altria CEO Howard Willard expressed support for the legislation recently when he said, “We commend Senator Mitch McConnell for announcing this legislation as we strongly support raising the purchasing age for all tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 and have been actively supporting legislation to do this at the federal level and in states across the country.”
Obviously smoking is harmful to our health. However, that doesn’t mean the government should be telling legal adults when they can put it into their bodies when the substance doesn’t harm others.
Two things can be true at once: Something can be bad for you, and the government can stay out of your life.
But, hey, Uncle Sam knows best.