"The health of our children is literally at stake," McConnell added.
McConnell offered the bill along with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), the Vice Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016, who also hails from a state with historic ties to the tobacco industry.
"Like Sen. McConnell, I come from a tobacco state," Kaine said in remarks on the Senate floor, joining the Majority Leader in giving a history lesson about his state, and the influence of tobacco.
"We're backsliding," Kaine said, nothing the recent increase in youth tobacco use, as he joined in blaming e-cigarettes and vaping.
"We encourage the states to pass their own laws," Kaine added, as he said the new age limit would also be applied to members of the military services.
“Raising the sales age for tobacco nationwide is one of several policy changes that are essential to reach the tobacco endgame of eliminating tobacco use and nicotine addiction,” said Nancy Brown, the head of the American Heart Association, which offered its quick support.
McConnell is running for re-election in 2020, and as the leader of the Senate, he could bring the bill up for action at any time.