Senator wants to raise the age to buy tobacco

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(NBC News) - One of the most powerful leaders in Washington is pushing a new law that would raise the age to buy tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21.

Senate Majority Meader Mitch McConnell says he's been convinced by the explosion of vaping among young people.

E-cigarette use among high schoolers went up 78% last year.

12 states and D.C. have already raised the smoking and vaping age from 18 to 21.

Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, from tobacco-producing Kentucky, says the law should go national.

"Tobacco won't be in most high schools, presenting fewer opportunities for children to get their hands on vaping devices," said Senator McConnell.

With their fruity flavors, e-cigarettes have exploded in popularity with teens, but doctors warn of extremely high nicotine levels that can lead to addiction and regular tobacco use.

"In adolescents, nicotine in the brain can cause long term impacts on memory, concentration, mood and impulse control," said Dr. Thomas Ylioja with National Jewish Health.

The bill will be introduced in May.

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