SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Indiana Republican Senator Todd Young is pushing to raise the federal minimum tobacco age to 21.
Sen. Young spoke to representatives from Smoke Free St. Joe, the Indiana Chamber and students at a press conference Wednesday at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in South Bend.
The senator is trying to win support for the Tobacco 21 Act, introduced by Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), which would make it illegal to sell electronic cigarettes and tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.
The senator stated too many teens are becoming addicted to nicotine.
"There is broad recognition with the increase in vaping and e-cigarette usage among middle and high school students, Congress needs to act and we need to act now and members of Congress are feeling the pressure rightly about the issue," said Senator Young.
Indiana ranks 45th in the nation in percentage of smokers, with a smoking rate of 21.8 percent with nearly $3 billion in annual health care costs in the state of Indiana, according to a press release from the senator’s office.
A recent poll shows nearly 75% of Hoosiers are in support of raising the legal age to buy tobacco products.