Sen. Todd Young addresses national drug epidemic at press conference in media center


Da-Hyun Hong

Indiana Sen. Todd Young speaks about Tobacco 21 Bill which will raise the state’s smoking age to 21 during a press conference in the media center. He said passing this bill is a “no brainer” and has not only interstate but national support.

Da-Hyun Hong

Today, May 10, 2019, Sen. Todd Young held a press conference in the media center to address the national epidemic of drug abuse among underaged students. According to Young, between 2017 and 2018, e-cigarette use went up 48 percent for middle school students and 78 percent among high school students.

“That is a trend line that is unsustainable and incredibly dangerous. We have a national epidemic on our hands,” he said.

Young announced public health experts indicate the most achievable and impactful policy measure is to raise Indiana’s smoking age to 21; this first step will reduce healthcare costs and improve health outcomes. They plan on having this bill, called Tobacco 21, passed in the coming weeks or months.

“I’m proud to be working in a bipartisan way in Washington D.C. to get this (approved),” Young said.

The conference featured two student speakers and Kevin Brinegar, CEO and president of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce. According to Brinegar, Indiana has a fifty percent higher smoking rate than the national average. He emphasized the immense cost this epidemic has on the state’s economy, taking money away from higher wages and salaries, employee training, and modernization.

Brinegar said this issue “makes (Indiana) less competitive as a state and provides fewer job opportunities and fewer successful businesses.”

Young said he will be visiting President Donald Trump in a couple of days to discuss the issue.