Aderholt moves to raise the age to buy tobacco, vaping products to 21
Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-4) on Thursday introduced a bill, the “Stopping Consumption of Tobacco by Teens” (SCOTT) Act, to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 and to also require more age verification for the online sale of vaping products.
“In 1984, Congress raised the national minimum drinking age to 21 after realizing the dangers of teenagers having easy access to alcohol. Smoking is just as much of a danger to health and life as drinking, and even more so to those who are still young and impressionable,” Aderholt said in a statement.
He explained, “This is why I have introduced a bill in Congress to increase the age to legally buy tobacco products to 21. Will this keep all cigarettes out of the hands of teens and young adults? No, but it will make it more difficult during an age range when most lifetime smokers say they first started the habit.”
The SCOTT Act would also work to ensure that minors are not purchasing vaping products online.
Aderholt advised, “My bill also requires age verification for online sales of vaping products. Before confirming a purchase, online vendors must obtain the full name, birth date, and residential address of that person. This information must be verified through a third-party database. Upon delivery, a person over the age of 21 must sign for the package.”
Just as HB 41 does on the state level, Aderholt’s bill has support from both sides of the aisle.
“This is bipartisan legislation that builds upon the work that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, (whom the bill is named in honor of), has done towards stemming the tide of youth adoption of vaping products over the past few years,” the congressman outlined. “The fight to curb this epidemic will not end with his departure, as proven by this first step in taking tobacco out of the ready reach of underage children. Together, in a bipartisan manner, we have the opportunity to greatly decrease the dependency on tobacco for a new generation of Americans. Once passed, I think this legislation will be a testament to the legacy of Commissioner Gottlieb’s tenure at the Food & Drug Administration.”
Aderholt concluded, “In an example of the bipartisanship of this bill, I’m proud to say that my friend, Democrat Congressman Juan Vargas, is an original co-sponsor. I’m honored to have his support for this bill.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn