Capitol Report: Antismoking groups say bill that lifts tobacco-buying age to 21 has a big flaw

As Washington moves closer to raising the age for buying e-cigarettes and conventional tobacco products to 21 from 18 nationwide, some advocacy groups are warning that one prominent bill could offer a loophole for tobacco companies.

The Tobacco-Free Youth Act — rolled out in mid-May by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, and Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine — would lift the purchase age to 21 but also require that each U.S. state pass a law lifting its minimum age to 21 or risk losing federal funding for programs that fight substance abuse.

That approach could give tobacco companies and their statehouse lobbyists a way to weaken state and local efforts to cut down on the use of tobacco, according to some antitobacco groups.

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