Mara Powell
502-895-8167 *122

Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates

Child welfare and juvenile justice have animated Leader McConnell’s commitment to kids. With his sponsorship of the Tobacco-Free Youth Act, you can add health to his legacy as a champion for children.

Today, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Tim Kaine filed the Tobacco-Free Youth Act to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products nationwide from age 18 to 21. This bipartisan bill is a hedge of protection around the young people of the Commonwealth, and the nation more broadly, as it will be instrumental in stemming the epidemic of vaping that is afflicting children as young as middle school age. And these harmful products are packed with nicotine, which is highly addictive and can cause lasting damage to the developing brain.

Increasing the minimum sale age for all tobacco products to 21 offers a commonsense way to keep harmful tobacco products out of reach of our kids and prevent life-long addictions to nicotine. As always, Leader McConnell has meshed principles and pragmatism into a bill that is commonsense and effective when it comes to addressing this emerging health threat to America’s youth.

We urge Congress to support this bipartisan bill and for our leaders in Frankfort to begin work aligning state law to protect more youth from the lasting harms of tobacco use.


About Kentucky Youth Advocates
Kentucky Youth Advocates believes all children deserve to be safe, healthy, and secure. As THE independent voice for Kentucky’s children, we work to ensure policymakers create investments and policies that are good for children. Learn more at