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Feds look to raise smoking age to 21 nationwide

Vape teenager. Young pretty white girl in white cardigan smoking an electronic cigarette opposite destroyed brick wall on the street in the spring. Bad habit that is harmful to health. (Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The smoking age will probably be raised to 21 by the end of the week after a group of top lawmakers added an amendment into the year-end spending deal.

Politico reports the federal ban on sales of tobacco and vaping products to those under the age of 21 has wide support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Politico says the changes are supported by Democrats Senator Brian Schats (D-HI) and Senator Kin Kaine (D-VA) as well as the Senate Minority Whip Dick Durban (D-IL). On the Republican side, it has the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Utah’s Mitt Romney (R-UT).

Utah is one of the many states that has passed a similar age changes to the smoking age on the state level. In February Lehi raised the age to purchase tobacco products from 19 to 21 and in March the Utah Legislature passed a bill to incrementally raise the smoking age to 21 by the year 2021.

This amendment would raise the smoking age to 21 across the entire nation.

Utah Rep Chirs Stewart (R-UT) also supports the bill and tells KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic he feels the bill is an appropriate step considering the dramatic rise in the amount of tobacco use in teens.

“There’s a rising epidemic in cigarette use,” Stewart says. “We just felt that it was appropriate to say: this has serious health considerations, it’s something you should be more thoughtful about, and that’s best made as you have a little more age and experience.”

This legislation is being included in a larger bill being introduced to try and reduce the cost of emergency medical bills that are also included in a set of must-pass spending legislation set to be passed by both houses of Congress before Friday in order to avoid a partial government shutdown.