May 20, 2019

Mitch McConnell, Tim Kaine co-sponsor bill to raise smoking age

Sen. Mitch McConnell. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

In a bipartisan push, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a bill on Monday to raise the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21, Politico reports.

Details: The Tobacco-Free Youth Act — as the legislation is dubbed — is a measure largely intended to curb teen use of e-cigarettes. While McConnell's April proposal included exemptions for "men and women who served in uniform," this bill applies to everyone under 21. The bill — which includes all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes — does not preclude states from implementing their own, more restrictive tobacco laws. The proposed action follows the growth in e-cigarette use among teenagers after years of dwindling smoking rates within that demographic.

What he's saying: “We’ve heard from countless parents who have seen the youth vaping crisis firsthand,” McConnell said in a statement. “Together, Senator Kaine and I are addressing this public health crisis head-on. By making it more difficult for tobacco products to end up in the hands of middle school and high school students, we can protect our children and give them the opportunity to grow and develop into healthy adults.”

Go deeper: McConnell wants to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 1,140,327 — Total deaths: 60,887 — Total recoveries: 233,930Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 278,568 — Total deaths: 7,163 — Total recoveries: 9,920Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state has opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: A pivotal Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Military updates: Senators call for independent investigation into the firing of Navy captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. The U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits as enlistment stations are shut down.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in one day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 39 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday, as the global death toll surpassed 60,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half of the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 57 mins ago - Health