By Lauren Fruen For Dailymail.com and Wires
Published: 18:45 GMT, 22 December 2019 | Updated: 23:39 GMT, 22 December 2019
Donald Trump signed a sweeping bill Friday that includes raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 for both cigarettes and vapes.
The bipartisan legislation, supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was attached to a package of must-pass spending bills that will keep the government running into next year.
Trump approved the two spending bills for a total of $1.4 trillion, including the new defense spending bill in a public ceremony at Joint Base Andrews. The civilian spending bill was signed aboard Air Force One as he traveled to his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he will be celebrating Christmas and New Year’s.
A crackdown on youth smoking, by changing the minimum age for cigarette and other tobacco purchases to 21 from the current 18, would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration six months to develop regulations.
The agency would then have three years to work with states on implementing the change.
Trump tweeted Friday: ‘I will be signing our 738 Billion Dollar Defense Spending Bill today. It will include 12 weeks Paid Parental Leave, gives our troops a raise, importantly creates the SPACE FORCE, SOUTHERN BORDER WALL FUNDING, repeals “Cadillac Tax” on Health Plans, raises smoking age to 21! BIG!’
President Trump is photographed signing the defense portion of the spending package
The civilian spending bill was signed aboard Air Force One as he traveled to his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he will be celebrating Christmas and New Year’s
Trump tweeted Friday calling the move to raise the smoking age to 21 ‘BIG’
In a step long-sought by health advocates the legislation would raise the minimum age to purchase all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, from 18 to 21 nationwide.
It was co-authored by lawmakers Brian Schatz and Dick Durbin, both Democrats, and Republicans Mitt Romney and Todd Young, CNN reports.
Two unlikely backers, Marlboro-cigarette maker Altria and vaping giant Juul Labs, have emerged as the biggest supporters of the measure, blanketing Capitol Hill with lobbyists and advertisements touting their support for a national ‘Tobacco 21’ law.
Juul and Altria — the vaping company’s biggest investor — threw their support behind the bill earlier this year amid a backlash against e-cigarettes at the local, state and national levels.
Tobacco critics contend the companies’ support is calculated to head off even harder-hitting government action: a ban on all flavored tobacco products, including fruit and dessert e-cigarettes.
President Donald Trump signed off on nearly $1.4 trillion in spending that will keep the government funded through September 30, dodging the possibility of a shutdown ahead of what’s expected to be a contentious election season.
The two bills signed on Friday will allocate $1.4 trillion: $738 billion to the military and $632 billion to non-defense agencies, marking increases over fiscal 2019 of $22 billion for the Pentagon and $27 billion for non-defense.
The spending measures, which will add roughly $400 billion to the deficit over 10 years, include money for the president’s U.S.-Mexico border fence, pay raises for military and civilian federal workers, and federal funding for election security grants.
The package includes $1.4 billion for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, the same amount lawmakers approved last year.
That amount far less than the $8.6 billion initially demanded by Trump, the fight over which led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history earlier this year.
The package includes an average 3.1 percent pay raise for federal civilian workers and military members.
The massive spending measures were made public earlier this week and marked a note of bipartisanship just days after House Democrats impeached Trump.
It headed off a repeat of last year’s end-of-the-year impasse that led to a 35-day partial government shutdown.
Their stance puts them in the unusual position of criticizing a move they long supported, arguing that the sales restriction isn’t enough.
‘Altria and Juul clearly support this in order to argue that no other action is necessary,’ said Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Current federal law prohibits sales of e-cigarettes and all other tobacco products to those under 18.
But more than one in four high school students report vaping regularly, according to the latest government figures. And health officials have called the vaping trend an ‘epidemic.’
Until September, Juul argued that its sweet flavors — including mango, mint and fruit — could help adult smokers switch from traditional cigarettes to vaping.
But the company dropped that message as President Donald Trump announced plans to remove virtually all vaping flavors from the market, due to their appeal to children. The Silicon Valley company has halted sales of all but two of its flavors, menthol and tobacco, and pledged not to oppose Trump’s plan.
Altria, the nation’s largest tobacco company, said it supports a ‘clean’ Tobacco 21 bill — focused exclusively on raising the age limit — because it is the ‘quickest and most effective’ way to address the recent surge in teen vaping.
For decades previously, Altria and other tobacco companies aggressively defended the 18-year-old minimum purchase age.
Juul has similarly supported legislation that raises the purchase age without touching flavors. And while the companies say they lobby separately, both quickly backed the Tobacco 21 bill introduced in May by McConnell and Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.
The companies’ support sapped attention away from other proposals that would have gone much further.
The logic for hiking the purchase age for cigarettes is clear: most underage teens who use tobacco get it from older friends. An estimated 90 percent of smokers start before age 18.
Most underage teens who use tobacco get it from older friends. An estimated 90 percent of smokers start before age 18. More than a third of U.S. states have already raised their minimum purchase age to 21
Delaying access to cigarettes is expected to produce major downstream health benefits, with one government-funded report estimating nearly 250,000 fewer deaths due to tobacco over several decades.
Still, anti-tobacco experts say age restrictions are only effective when they are vigorously enforced, and tobacco sales can fall through the cracks amid a patchwork of local, state and federal law enforcement. They point to underage drinking as an example of the limited impact of age-based restrictions.
State laws banning tobacco sales to those under 18 evolved over several decades and were reinforced by a federal law in 2009.
The same law banned all flavors from traditional cigarettes except menthol, which received a special exception at the behest of tobacco lobbyists.
More than a third of U.S. states — including California, Illinois, New York and Texas — and the District of Columbia have already raised their minimum purchase age to 21.
Anti-smoking groups have tracked the trend with measured support, noting the role of Juul and Altria lobbyists behind many of the efforts.
Donald Trump signs bill raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 for both cigarettes and vapes
By Karen Ruiz For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 21:45 GMT, 22 December 2019 | Updated: 23:26 GMT, 22 December 2019
A tourist who was injured in the White Island disaster has died in hospital – bringing the death toll to 17.
The victim, who was not named, died on Sunday night while being treated at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, police confirmed.
‘Police were advised of the death shortly before 11pm,’ Deputy Commissioner John Tims said on Monday.
‘The death of this person brings the official number of deceased to 17, 16 of whom died in New Zealand and one in Australia.’
Seventeen people have died after the White Island volcano eruption on December 9
Last week, authorities said the two missing bodies – identified as New Zealand tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, and Australian teenager Winona Langford, 17 – may never be found
The deceased person’s nationality was not released.
A total of 47 people – including 24 Australians – were on the island at the time of the deadly eruption on December 9.
Two people remain missing, while 28 are being treated in New Zealand and Australian hospitals after sustaining severe burn injuries.
Last week, authorities said the two missing bodies – identified as New Zealand tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, and Australian teenager Winona Langford, 17 – may never be found.
Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement said he believes a storm soon after the eruption washed the bodies down a stream and into the Pacific Ocean.
Dive crews on a police boat spotted a male body in the water near the island two days after the eruption.
He said the boat was able to maneuver within metres of the body but large waves prevented crews from recovering the body before it sank.
New Zealand authorities believe the force of the volcanic eruption resulted in victims being knocked into the water. Two bodies remain missing after several recovery attempts
Police said divers faced ‘unique and challenging conditions’ as they searched waters ‘with between zero and two metres visibility’
‘We are deeply sorry that we haven’t, until this time, been able to return those bodies,’ Clement told reporters in the town of Whakatane, near the volcanic island.
‘That has been our mission throughout, firstly to save people and then to recover people. It hurts us, and it hurts our people and it hurts everybody in this community when we don’t achieve that purpose.’
Winona’s parents Kristine, 45, and Anthony, 51, both died. Her 19-year-old brother Jesse survived and is recovering in hospital in Sydney with burns to 90 per cent of his body.
Police named the missing victims last Tuesday as they postponed the search for the bodies.
A Defence Force helicopter left on Tuesday morning for an aerial search of the island but had to turn back due to poor weather.
Twenty four Australians were among 47 tourist on White Island when it erupted.
Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, from Brisbane, have been officially confirmed dead.
Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, (pictured) from Brisbane are among the dead
Martin Hollander and his wife Barbara
Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney, was missing but was formally identified on Monday.
His two sons Berend, 16, and Matthew, 13, who attended Sydney’s Knox Grammar, both died in hospital last week after suffering serious injuries in the blast.
According to his Linkedin profile, Mr Hollander works at Transport for NSW as a freight initiatives manager.
He is also a director at a Singaporean investment management firm, Wipunen Incrementum Capital.
He was on a family holiday with his wife, who remains unaccounted for, and two kids, who were confirmed dead on Thursday.
Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney, was formally identified on Monday. His wife Barbara (left) is yet to be formally identified
Gavin Dallow, 53, and stepdaughter Zoe Hosking, 15, from Adelaide
The Hosking/Dallow family had been on a tour at the time of the eruption. Mum Lisa Dallow is among the injured in hospital. Her husband Gavin (right) 53, and 15-year-old daughter Zoe, from Adelaide, (left) were confirmed dead on Wednesday
Mr Dallow’s body was identified by police from the five bodies recovered from the island. Zoe was formally identified as a victim on Sunday.
Karla Mathews, 32, and Richard Elzer, 32, from Coffs Harbour, NSW
Karla Mathews (left), 32, is dead as is boyfriend Richard Elzer (right), 32, from Coffs Harbour
The couple were identified as those tourists still on the island and therefore presumed dead by their families on Wednesday.
Jason Griffiths, 33, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour was taken to hospital in critical condition but died from his injuries on Wednesday
Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour, NSW, died from his injuries on Wednesday after being taken to hospital in critical condition.
He was officially confirmed dead by police on Monday.
He had been on a tour of the volcano with couple Karla Mathews, 32, and Richard Elzer, 32, who are now presumed dead, friends said.
Matthew (Year 8) and Berend Hollander (Year 10) from Sydney
Matthew (left, year eight) and Berend (right, year 10) Hollander were confirmed dead on Thursday morning
Knox Grammar schoolboy brothers Matthew, 13, and Berend, 16, Hollander were confirmed dead on Thursday morning.
They died in two New Zealand hospitals after escaping the island with horrific burns.
Their father Martin was confirmed dead on Monday, while their mother Barbara is yet to be confirmed dead or identified by police.
Krystal Browitt, 21, from Melbourne
Krystal Browitt was on the cruise for her 21st birthday with family
Ms Browitt was formally identified as a victim on Saturday. She was on the Ovation of the Seas cruise for her 21st birthday with family.
Her father Paul and sister Stephanie are in serious condition in hospital. Her mother Marie escaped death by staying on the cruise liner.
Anthony Langford, 51, and his wife Kristine Langford, 45, from Sydney
Anthony Langford, 51, (pictured with wife Kristine) had been among those still unaccounted for in the disaster. He was confirmed dead by police on Sunday
Kristine Langford, 45, from Sydney, is also among those officially confirmed dead on Monday.
The body of her husband Anthony, 51 was formally identified on Sunday, and her daughter Winona, 17, is still missing and presumed dead.
The couple’s 19-year-old son Jesse survived the volcano eruption, and is recovering in hospital with burns to 90 per cent of his body.
Mr Langford worked for Sydney Water.
Winona Langford, 17, Sydney
Police said Winona Lanford (pictured centre back row between her parents Anthony and Kristine) was one of the missing bodies still on White Island. She is not thought to have survived
On Tuesday, NZ Police said one of the bodies still missing on White Island belonged to 17-year-old Winona Langford from Sydney.
Winona’s mother and father have been confirmed dead while her brother Jesse remains in hospital.
Her body is either entombed on the deadly volcano island or is in the sea.
Lisa Dallow, 49, from Adelaide
Lisa Dallow (right with her husband Gavin who is missing), 49, from Adelaide
She is an induced coma in Hamilton Hospital, with 57 per cent of her body burnt
Jesse Langford, 19, Sydney
Found: Jesse Langford (pictured with Michelle Spring, believed to be his girlfriend) is in hospital but his condition is not clear
He has been identified among the injured in hospital. He is reported to have suffered burns to 90 per cent of his body
White Island volcano death toll reaches 17 after victims dies in hospital
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