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US legislators pass bill to raise minimum age for tobacco, e-cigarettes to 21

The U.S. Congress approved a measure that would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

On Dec. 19, the Senate approved funding bills that include a provision to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. The House of Representatives approved the package earlier in the week.

If the legislation is signed by President Donald Trump, the rule change for the tobacco age would have to be published within 180 days in the Federal Register and go into effect within another 90 days after that, according to the text of the bill.

Companies like Altria Group Inc. and Juul Labs Inc. have supported the push to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products.

A broader debate about tobacco and vaping laws continues. The Trump Administration's plans to clear the market of most flavored vaping products stalled, and federal health agencies walked back from a proposal to cap nicotine levels in cigarettes.

The World Health Organization credits tobacco control measures for the global decline in the number of tobacco users.