Congressman Chris Stewart

Representing the 2nd District of Utah
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Stewart Introduces Bill to Raise Smoking Age to 21

Apr 30, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) joins Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) in introducing the Tobacco to 21 Act. This Legislation will establish 21 as the legal age for sale of tobacco products nationwide.

“Combating tobacco use by children has been a priority of mine since first taking office. I truly believe that it is an epidemic among our youth. I am confident that this bill will significantly reduce underage tobacco usage and ultimately save lives.”- Rep. Stewart

“Congress has a responsibility to enact laws to protect the public’s health – and right now, tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death in our country,” Rep. DeGette said. “Unlike other bills drafted by the industry, our bill has no special-interest carve-outs or limitations on state and local governments. Unlike other bills, our bill was drafted with one simple goal in mind and that’s to protect public health by keeping tobacco products out of the hands of young people.”

More about Tobacco to 21 Act:

Each day in the United States, more than 2,000 youth under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette. Studies show that an estimated 5,600,000 youth aged 17 and under are projected to die prematurely from a tobacco-related illness if prevalence rates do not change. This bill seeks to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old.  Increasing the minimum legal sale age will help prevent young people from starting down a path that often leads to addiction, disease, and premature death.

“The Tobacco to 21 Act takes bold and necessary action to reduce tobacco use among youth and young adults,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “With 95 percent of tobacco users having started their life-threatening habit before age 21, raising the minimum sales age for all tobacco products to 21 nationwide will reduce tobacco use, nicotine addiction and tobacco-related disease and death. The American Heart Association is proud to support this important public health legislation, and we are grateful to Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Todd Young (R-IN), Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) for their leadership on this issue. This bill is an essential step in reaching the tobacco endgame of eliminating tobacco use and nicotine addiction in our nation.”

This legislation is endorsed by: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, and American Heart Association.