This session the American Heart Association was laser focused on advancing the Tobacco to 21 bill with our partners. This bill would raise the legal purchase age for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21 years of age, ultimately keeping tobacco out of the hands of our youth and preventing years of tobacco addiction and tobacco-related disease.
hero_image_alt_text===picture of a cigarette snuffed out
thumbnail_alt_text===pictured of a cigarette snuffed out
While the bill didn’t make it all the way to the Governor’s desk, it got further than it ever has before. In the last days of session, in a bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives voted to approve the bill 63-35. The floor speeches given by legislators were heartfelt and moving; it was clear we’ve arrived at a culture shift and a shared recognition that tobacco is dangerous and we must take action to prevent youth initiation. While the time in session ran out before advocates could move the bill through the Senate, we feel confident about returning in 2019 and getting this policy over the finish line.
It’s hard to say what else the 2019 session will bring. Several legislators have already announced their retirement, the November elections will undoubtedly bring some interesting results, and AHA is already teeing up exciting work around tobacco control (including Tobacco to 21!) and healthy eating.
Thank you for your ongoing support! We’ll be in touch during the interim with news of emerging policies and preparation for the 2019 session.