Congressman James Comer says he doesn’t think raising the smoking age from 18 to 21 nationwide will have a big impact on Kentucky tobacco farmers.
Senator Mitch McConnell said last week he will introduce a bill in May to raise the minimum age on the purchase of cigarettes, vaping devices and other tobacco products. This proposal was met with some skepticism from anti-tobacco advocates.
Comer, who is a farmer and a former state agriculture commissioner, says the industry knows tobacco is now primarily an export crop. "Most of the tobacco that we grow in Kentucky is exported to other countries. The American tobacco consumption continues to go down. However, international tobacco consumption goes up,” he said.
Comer said he supports McConnell’s proposal and said it’s “the right thing to do.”
Tobacco is one of Kentucky’s top exports. A 2018 USDA overview found the state’s tobacco production value at more than $300 million.