U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have introduced the Tobacco to 21 Act, legislation that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products — including e-cigarettes — to anyone under the age of 21.

“The research is clear: raising the minimum smoking age to 21 would save lives,” Schatz said in a recent press release. “Hawaii became the first state to raise the age limit, and since then, 11 other states have joined us. Our bipartisan bill would bring all 50 states together, so we can protect our young people from this addiction, and save lives.”

Senator Brian Schatz speaks during the 2018 Hawaii Democratic Convention held at the Hilton Waikaloa in Kona, Hawaii.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in Hawaii in 2018. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2018

The four senators are scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of the legislation.

Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah).

According to Schatz’s office, every day approximately 1,300 people die from smoking-related diseases, “making tobacco the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.”

Research shows that about 95% of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21.

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