Dec 19, 2019

Congress raises age to buy tobacco products to 21

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Congress voted Thursday to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21 as part of a $1.37 trillion spending measure.

The state of play: The larger funding bill helped to avoid a government shutdown. President Trump signaled he will likely sign it before federal funding runs out Friday at midnight.

The big picture: A national vaping epidemic has consumed the country, with thousands reporting injuries from a mysterious illness and more than 50 people dead as a result. There has been a push to increase the minimum age to smoke to 21 across numerous states, USA Today reports, with 19 states and the District of Columbia already bumping the age limit up.

  • The effort to raise the legal age to buy tobacco has largely been bipartisan, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) pushing the issue. The two introduced the Tobacco-Free Youth Act in May.

Worth noting: Trump has previously flipped his stance on vaping products. He intended to ban flavored e-cigarettes before changing his mind earlier this year.

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FDA officially raises age to buy tobacco to 21

No Smoking and No Vaping sign. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration officially raised the age to buy tobacco in the U.S. from 18 to 21, fulfilling a key portion of the federal spending package that President Trump signed into law last week.

The big picture: The decision comes faster than some expected as the FDA had six months to amend their policies after Trump signed the bill and another 90 days to officially adopt the change. 19 states and the District of Columbia had already put in place laws to raise the minimum buying age for tobacco products — including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes — to 21.

Go deeper: Vitamin E acetate is "strongly linked" to the vaping illnesses

Keep ReadingArrowDec 27, 2019

CDC confirms 2,807 hospital cases of lung injury linked to vaping

Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images

There are 2,807 confirmed hospital cases of lung injury associated with vaping in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and two U.S. territories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of Feb 18.

What's new: Because of the consistent declines in new EVALI cases since Sept. 2019, as well as the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, Tuesday's report will be the final CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 25, 2020 - Health

68 reported dead from vaping-related lung illness

Photo: Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

68 people have died from a lung injury associated with e-cigarette use in 29 states and the District of Columbia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of Feb. 18.

What's new: Because of the consistent declines in new EVALI cases since Sept. 2019, as well as the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, Tuesday's report will be the final CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 25, 2020 - Health