51 by 51: Ending Teen Access to Tobacco Products

From Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox’s office (R-Colonial Heights). The Virginia House of Delegates is continuing to highlight 51 unique accomplishments of the 51 members of the Republican-led House of Delegates from the 2019 General Assembly session….

Our children and teenagers are the leaders of tomorrow. However, the United States Surgeon General has declared the use of teenage vaping as an “epidemic” that threatens to leave an entire generation of young people addicted to nicotine.

In 2018, over 20% of high school seniors reported vaping in the last 30 days compared to 11 percent in 2017. For 10th graders, it was 16% in 2018 compared to eight percent in 2017. For 8th graders, it was six percent in 2018 compared to three percent in 2017.

For these reasons, this year we took a significant step towards ending teen access to tobacco products.

The House of Delegates passed legislation carried by Delegate Chris Stolle to raise the age required to purchase tobacco products to 21. This will help eliminate tobacco use in our high schools, where 18-year-old seniors often serve as the access point for younger students. Increasing the legal age required to purchase to 21 aligns tobacco products to other adult products including beer, wine and distilled spirits.

Ending teen access to tobacco products makes the raising the age one of our 51 accomplishments by the 51 members of the Republican-led House of Delegates.