Speed Reads

smoke and spending bills

Congress is reportedly ready to ban tobacco sales to anyone under 21

An industry-transforming policy is reportedly arriving before the year ends.

A proposal to install a federal ban on tobacco sales to anyone under 21 has bipartisan support in the Senate, with even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) saying earlier this year he'd introduce legislation limiting the sales. But it now seems he won't need a separate bill, as the Senate plans to include the provision in this year's federal spending bill, sources in both parties tell Politico.

Tobacco products for both cigarettes and e-cigarettes will be subject to the heightened age threshold, four people familiar with the matter tell Politico. The provision was supposed to be included with earlier health-related measures, but got held up in partisan fights. The measure has support from senators on both sides of the aisle, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

Congressional leaders have already tentatively agreed to a plan to fund the government through fiscal year 2020, Politico reported in November. A stopgap spending bill extended the current government funding provisions until Dec. 20 of this year. Other policy changes and local funding packages will likely be snuck into the spending bill as conditions for some lawmakers' support, though the tobacco age raise may be the most significant nationwide. Federal law currently sets the tobacco sales age limit at 18, though some states and local municipalities have made it higher.