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Why Big Tobacco and JUUL are lobbying to raise the smoking age

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FDA head Scott Gottlieb, in an interview with USA TODAY's Jayne O'Donnell, announces new regulations on how and where flavored vape juice can be sold. USA TODAY
FDA head Scott Gottlieb, in an interview with USA TODAY's Jayne O'Donnell, announces new regulations on how and where flavored vape juice can be sold. USA TODAY

Big Tobacco and its legion of lobbyists, which fought efforts to raise the legal age to buy smoking and vaping products for years, mysteriously changed their tune in statehouses this year, instead arguing the age should be upped from 18 to 21.

Pushed by industry giants Altria, Reynolds American and Juul Labs, the maker of trendy e-cigarettes, nine states have passed “Tobacco 21” laws this year, and at least 10 states are considering similar legislation.

Big Tobacco and its legislative allies say they’re following the lead of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in trying to fight increases in youth vaping. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., introduced federal legislation this week that would raise the tobacco age nationwide.

Read more from USA Today.

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