HomeWashington Letter2019 ▶ House Committee Passes Tobacco 21 Legislation
House Committee Passes Tobacco 21 Legislation

This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Pallone (R-NJ), passed legislation aimed at addressing the youth tobacco crisis. The committee passed the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019, H.R. 2339, by a vote of 28–24. The bill:

  • Raises the federal tobacco purchasing age to 21.
  • Bans all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes & cigars. The flavor ban includes mint and menthol flavors.
  • Bans online sales of tobacco products.
  • Restricts marketing of tobacco products to children and adolescents.
  • Creates a demonstration program to promote tobacco cessation in underserved communities.

The bill is expected to be considered and likely passed by the House of Representatives in the near future. However, the bill’s prospects in the Senate are far less certain. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supports tobacco-21 policy but has not supported other provisions in the House bill, including flavoring ban and internet sales. Further, due to other Senate legislative priorities, including finishing the annual spending bill and the potential impeachment trial, it is unlikely the Senate will consider major tobacco control legislation in 2019.

Last Reviewed: November 2019