KEY POINTS

  • The Trump administration signed legislation Friday that would raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco, e-cigarettes, and vaping products to 21 across the U.S.
  • The regulation comes after numerous young people have landed in the hospital due to e-cigarettes and vaping products
  • Activists groups are mostly in support of the rule, but some are saying it doesn't go far enough and have called for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes

President Trump signed multiple spending bills Friday, with one containing a provision that would raise the legal age to buy tobacco, e-cigarettes or vape products to 21 across the country. The changes would be implemented in around nine months, with the Food and Drug Administration needing time to update its regulations.

Trump has previously advocated an age increase for buying e-cigarettes and vape products, due to multiple hospitalizations among young people who had used the products. The bill would make it illegal for young people under 21 to buy the products.

"We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we're going to have an age limit of 21 or so, so we'll be coming out with something next week very important on vaping," Trump said in November. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Tuesday, there have been 2,506 hospitalization cases due to lung injuries caused by e-cigarettes or vaping products.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 19 states have increased the tobacco buying age to 21 as of December.

Some activist groups have praised the age increase to buy these products.

“The Vapor Technology Association has advocated for raising the age to 21 for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and believes, along with the public health groups, that this is the most significant step that can be taken to reduce youth access and use," Tony Abboud, the executive director of the Vapor Technology Association said Friday.

The anti-smoking group The Truth Initiative has said that it “strongly supports raising the minimum age of sale for all tobacco products as part of a strong tobacco control policy program.”

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign of Tobacco-Free Kids, said the measure does not go far enough. "Raising the tobacco age to 21 is a positive step, but it is not a substitute for prohibiting the flavored e-cigarettes that are luring and addicting our kids," he said. "To reverse the e-cigarette epidemic, policy makers must prohibit flavored e-cigarettes and cannot be limited by what the tobacco industry says is acceptable."

The U.S. also does not allow individuals to buy alcohol if they are under 21, with the age increase a result of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, a law that was passed under President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Vaping has become a lucrative industry. Industry leader Juul, which is backed by Altria, is valued at $16.4 billion, while Vuse, which is owned by R.J. Reynolds, is reportedly gaining in market share.

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