Statement by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates
Today, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell announced plans to introduce a “tobacco 21” bill in the U.S. Senate to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products nationwide from age 18 to 21. This proposal could prove to be a profound piece of legislation that makes a real difference in the health and well-being of not only Kentucky children and teens, but also kids across the nation.
There’s an undeniable boom in e-cigarette use among Kentucky kids — some first trying vaping as young as 5th and 6th grade. And these harmful products are packed with nicotine, some with enough to equate to up to two packs of cigarettes in one device. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to its effect as it can cause lasting damage to brain development, among other negative health outcomes. Increasing the minimum sale age for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21 offers a commonsense way to keep these harmful products out of reach of kids.
On the heels of the good work of the Kentucky General Assembly to protect kids’ health with passage of the statewide tobacco-free school campus bill, Kentucky Youth Advocates thanks Senator McConnell for leading the way in Congress on this critical issue to help keep Kentucky kids, and kids across the nation, healthier and prevent life-long addictions to nicotine.
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 www.kyyouth.org.