Photo courtesy of <a href="http://vaping360.com/" target="_blank">http://vaping360.com</a>.

Photo courtesy of http://vaping360.com.

Proposed law would raise age limit for tobacco sales in WA

Lawmakers cite health concerns over tobacco and vape products

By Madeline Coats, WNPA Olympia News Bureau

A proposed law requested by State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the Department of Health would raise the minimum legal age of sales for tobacco and vapor products in Washington from 18 to 21.

The bill, HB 1074, was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 11 representatives and introduced by House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver).

HB 1074 would prohibit the purchase of tobacco and vapor products for any person under age 21. The current age limit is set at 18 years old.

The prefiled bill intends to decrease the number of eligible buyers in high school in order to reduce students’ access to tobacco products. The text of the bill states that jurisdictions across the country have been increasing the age of sale to 21, and at least six states and 350 cities and counties have raised the legal sales age.

John Smith from Driftwood Vapor in Lacey explains that the proposed bill is a good idea, but won’t accomplish much. When Smith was underage, he said it was easy to purchase tobacco products.

“It will probably reduce underage usage,” Smith said. “It won’t be eliminated, though.” Smith also believes that adolescents and young adults will find a way to access tobacco regardless of age restrictions.

The Institute of Medicine, a non-profit organization that offers advice on issues related to health, agrees with the public health implications of raising the age of legal access to such products. According to the institute, among adult daily smokers, about 90 percent report their first use of cigarettes before age 19.

The institute argues that increasing the minimum legal age would likely prevent or delay the use of tobacco products by adolescents and young adults. The committee predicts that increasing the age of purchase will reduce tobacco use initiation among teenagers and improve the health of Americans.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse addresses the heightened risk of addiction to nicotine for adolescents and the negative effects on the development of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. The center’s scientific studies of the brain have shown that humans are highly vulnerable to addictive substances until age 25.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use causes approximately 6 million deaths per year. The CDC reports that in Washington state, over $2.8 billion in health care costs can be directly attributed to the use of tobacco.

Photo courtesy of http://vaping360.com.

More in News

For veterans, there’s no better cause to push than helping other vets

Jim Curtis and Mark Gorman are two of many veteran advocates on the Eastside.

Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank team members, from left, volunteers Don and Carolyn DeVolder, Mount Si High School sophomore Shira Shecter, volunteer Becky Sydnor, Operations Manager Heather Walsh, Teri Wood, Mickey Martindale, and Debbie Rowley with Mount Si freshman daughter Ellie. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank needs volutneers

Donations also needed, specifically Thanksgiving side dishes.

Desi Cuddihy’s fourth-grade students welcome veterans, including Navy veterans Mark and Angie Kennedy (center) as they enter the Snoqualmie Elementary Veterans Day assembly on Nov. 8. Madison Miller / staff photo
Snoqualmie Elementary fourth graders honor veterans with annual assembly

Desi Cuddihy’s fourth graders host a Veterans Day breakfast and assembly for the 11th year.

Political activist Tim Eyman campaigns for Initiative 976 on Nov. 5 in downtown Bellevue. The initiative promised $30 car tabs while functionally eliminating the ability of agencies like Sound Transit to raise taxes for its projects. Photo by Aaron Kunkler
Election analysis: Eastside cities largely voted against I-976

Most Eastside cities weren’t swayed by I-976, though more voters approved it than the county average.

A King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity. Photo courtesy of the state Attorney General’s office
Judge rules Value Village deceived customers

The King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity.

The Snoqualmie Valley Veterans Memorial recognizes all veterans from the Valley. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
Veterans Day recognized in the valley

Events celebrate local service members, past and present.

Mary-Lee Johnson’s North Bend Elementary kindergarten class of 1998 made a message in a bottle. It was found 21 years later. Photo courtesy of Mary-Lee Johnson
Message in a bottle found 21 years later

The bottle traveled over 3,000 miles; found off the coast of Bird Island 21 years later.

King County will challenge legality of I-976

County Executive Dow Constantine: ‘We must clean up another mess that Tim Eyman has created for our state, our region, and our economy’

Dariel Norris and Gene Pollard run for Public Hospital District 4 Commissioner Position 2. Courtesy photos
Norris leads in Hospital District 4 race

Preliminary General Election results.

Most Read