WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Todd Young (R-IN), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in calling for the federal smoking and vaping age to be raised to 21. Last week, the senators introduced the Tobacco to 21 Act, bipartisan legislation to do just that. A transcript of his remarks can be found below:
“It’s an honor to be here with Senator Schatz and Senator Young and Senator Durbin to join in this bipartisan effort because of what we know. What we know is that tobacco damages the human body. What we know is that tobacco kills people. We know the people that are hooked on tobacco end up taking home less pay every week because of the cost of tobacco. We also know that tobacco use is costing our nation billions upon billions of dollars—a loss of life, a loss of funds.
“It makes all the sense in the world to say, ‘let’s try and help young people from getting hooked on this terrible product.’ Unfortunately, we also know that young people tend to have, in some cases, not a lot of perspective about the choices they’re making and perhaps not enough experience to make the judgment that’s most wise for their long-term experience. For that reason, it makes all the sense in the world to make it illegal for young people to purchase these products, so that we can help them during a time when their judgment is not as clear as it might be. Older people typically have figured out that tobacco products make no sense at all.
“In my home state, the legislature figured this out, was one of the first states in the nation to say we’re going to raise the smoking age to 21, and they did so because they saw what was happening with vaping. Vaping has doubled in young people in my state. This is the same trend we’re seeing across the country. This is one step we can take. There are more steps that we need to take but this is a critical step. It will save lives, it will improve the health of our citizens. It will also save billions of dollars. Let’s get this done. Let’s move it as quickly as possible through the Senate and the House and get it signed by the president.”