Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, introduced legislation Wednesday morning to raise the national smoking age to 21.
Schatz hails from the only state in the union where the smoking age is already 21 and is now trying to take that policy national.
"We know that the earlier smokers begin their unhealthy addiction to nicotine, the more likely they are to suffer from tobacco-related diseases or die," said Schatz in a press release. "This year, Hawai'i became the first state in the nation to raise the minimum smoking age to 21. It was an historic public health achievement that we should adopt nationwide."
New York City also has a tobacco age of 21, set at the close of health-conscious Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure in 2013.
Supporters cite national data showing that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before their 21st birthday.
The act would cover conventional cigarettes, as well as smokeless and vaporizing options, ascendant in national popularity, especially among millennials. The bill notes this phenomenon.
"Young adults aged 18 to 24 are more than 2 times as likely to use smokeless products as compared to older adults aged 45 to 64."
After the "Tobacco to 21 Act" was introduced, an adjoining campaign, #TobaccoTo21, was launched on Twitter and other social media. The campaign is supported by a gauntlet of health groups, including the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.
The bill is co-sponsored by Minority Whip Richard Durbin, and seven other senators, all Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
The bill rehashes some morbid truths to make its case: "Tobacco use caused 20,800,000 premature 8 deaths in the United States in the 50 years since the 9 Surgeon General's first report on smoking in 1964."
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified a co-sponsor of the bill. The Washington Examiner regrets the error.