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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is not going down without picking a fight with the vaping industry and its link to rising underage use.  

Serving in the U.S. Senate for 42 years, Hatch rarely shied away from a cause for his constituents, right or wrong.   

In the final weeks on the public stage, Hatch, a staunch supporter of President Trump, unveiled new legislation, the Smoke Free Schools Act of 2018. The program provides additional power to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DCP) to unite and research long-term effects of vaping, desertnews.com reported.  

The new teammates would form committees to “study best practices for schools to implement policies to address e-cigarette use among students,” according to a statement from Hatch’s office.  

The legislation included instructions for the FDA and CDP to study “gaps in knowledge about the harms of e-cigarette use among youth and young adults,” said Matt Whitlock, a Hatch spokesman. “The bill also encourages further research on the dose-response association between e-cigarettes and combustible tobacco, and the current efforts by schools to use federal funding to combat e-cigarette use.”   

Hatch received bipartisan aid from Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and the bill received immediate support from a pair of influential education advocacy associations, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National School Boards Association, desertnews.com reported.  

A seven-term senator, Hatch, in one of his final actions in Washington D.C., acted on a 2017 Utah youth vaping study which concluded 23.1 percent of participants admitted to experimenting with e-cigarettes. The use among seniors in high schools rose to 32.1 percent.   

The state of Utah’s legal vaping age is 19.  

As he exits public life, Hatch in a statement applauded Utah’s work the past three decades to discourage the act of smoking traditional cigarettes.    

“Now,” he said, “it’s important to continue that work in the context of new devices and technologies that have been shown to lead to nicotine addiction among today’s students.”

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