A bipartisan coalition of Virginia General Assembly leaders have announced their sponsorship of legislation to raise the minimum age required to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.
Legislation to increase the eligibility age, which would apply to both vapor-based and traditional tobacco products, has been filed in both the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate.
“With the Surgeon General characterizing teenage vaping as an ‘epidemic,’ and with one-out-of-five high school seniors using these products, raising the minimum age for purchase is the most expeditious way to address this rising healthcare problem,” declared Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr., sponsor of Senate Bill 1727.
“Raising the legal age for tobacco purchases to 21 is a common sense way to address this escalating public health concern,” noted Republican Delegate Christopher P. Stolle, M.D., who is sponsoring House Bill 2748. “The rapid growth of the number of teenagers vaping, at a time when the use of traditional tobacco is at an all-time low, should set off alarms for every parent. This legislation will help to reverse that trend.”
“The overwhelming majority of high school seniors turn 18 before they graduate, increasing the prevalence of tobacco products in our schools,” said Speaker of the House M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox. “Obtaining vaping products from friends and classmates who are already 18 years old is just too easy for the younger kids. Raising the age will have a positive effect on our schools.”