HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania Senate has approved legislation that would raise the state’s minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products.
Senate Bill 743 would ban the sale of tobacco and vaping products to anyone under 21 years of age. The proposal passed Wednesday by a 43-6 vote and now awaits consideration in the House.
Tobacco products would include cigars, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.
Sen. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe, Northampton) has said he introduced the legislation because an increasing number of teens are getting cigarettes from their 18-year-old high school peers.
In his co-sponsorship memo, he said 13 percent of high school students in Pennsylvania are smokers, and 81 percent of adult smokers began before they turned 21.
Scavello pointed to a report by the National Academy of Medicine that found raising the legal age to 21 nationwide would reduce the number of new tobacco users, decrease smoking frequency by 12 percent, and save more than 223,000 lives from deaths related to smoking.