Washington bill raising tobacco sales age to 21 passes in House

Feb 20, 2019, 5:25 PM | Updated: Feb 21, 2019, 8:43 am
tobacco washington, Skagit...
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

If you’re a teenager who hopes to look cool by smoking, that just became a bit tougher.

On Tuesday the Washington House of Representatives passed House Bill 1074, raising the age of sale for all tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21, reports KIRO 7. Should it pass, Washington would join six other states in raising the age, including California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon, along with 360 municipalities nationwide.

RELATED: Stop smoking campaign features smokers’ stories, graphic images

“This legislation is so important to help save lives from a preventable death and protect youth from a lifetime addiction,” Mary McHale, Washington government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said in a news release.

Since numerous youth become addicted to smoking around this age, officials hope to mitigate a lifetime of addiction by delaying the time at which they first encounter smoking. It’s also believed that since younger teenagers previously acquired cigarettes from 18 to 20-year-olds, it would now become even more difficult for them to start. Everyone will have to depend on the 21-year-olds.

Additionally, a recently introduced House Bill 1932 aims to further regulate vape products, part of which would ban flavored vapor products and flavored marijuana products. The bill argues that the flavors make them even more addictive to adults, and more appealing to youth as well.

RELATED: Dori debates: Should employees be penalized for smoking?

As the result of the tobacco law, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson estimates a loss of tax revenue at about $3 million a year, but believes the long-term health costs savings will more than make up for it.

With the recent passing of I-1639 raising the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21, teenagers who enjoyed smoking while shooting a semi-automatic will have to find another hobby.

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Washington bill raising tobacco sales age to 21 passes in House