Todd Young calls for increasing smoking age to 21

In this April 11, 2018, file photo, a high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Is 18 too young to smoke cigarettes? Indiana Senator Todd Young says ‘yes’ and is sponsoring legislation to change the national legal smoking age to 21.

The change would also apply to e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

"We have a national epidemic on our hands," said Senator Young. “It is a national health issue and this is why it requires a national solution."

The senator made the comments at Carmel High School Friday. Administrators say they have recently seen a significant increase in students vaping on campus.

According to the CDC, nearly 50 million Americans regularly smoke or vape.

Senator Young recently introduced the Tobacco to 21 Act along with Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah). The bill has local support of health organizations and the State Chamber of Commerce.

"I do think that 18 is a little bit too young to start making decisions about what products you take into your system," said Tony Mathis, owner of the Vape Shop in Indianapolis.

Senator Young says he believes there is enough support to get the bill passed and is hopeful to have it taken up this year.

"The only thing that could get in the way of this happening would be special interests intervening and we are all going to collectively fight against that and get this across the line," said Sen. Young.