Photo courtesy of vaping360.com

Photo courtesy of 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.

More in News

Maple Valley toddler dies in possible “murder-suicide”

King County Sheriff investigating two deaths in Maple Valley home

House bill paves the way for Lakepointe Property project

Covington mayor says new taxing district will support future roads

Photo courtesy of Building Beyond the Walls 
                                Building Beyond the Walls volunteers building Terry Hildebrand’s ramp alongside his family.
Black Diamond senior given new wheelchair ramp

A 77-year-old Black Diamond resident received a special gift when a Bonney… Continue reading

Remember Monday is Memorial Day

Memorial Day is this weekend and city halls, offices, schools and other… Continue reading

King County’s $5 million derelict boat problem

When a boat sinks, it costs a lot to bring it up, with millions being spent since 2003 on removals.

Self-driving cars: Heaven or hell?

Depending on factors, traffic and environmental impacts could become better or worse.

Learn about tree health with WSU at the library

Maple Valley residents are invited to a free workshop on forest health… Continue reading

5 purse snatching suspects arrested

The suspects were taken into custody on May 18 and were found in Maple Valley

Susan’s quest for ‘justice’ and the civil legal system dilemma

While citizens have the right to an attorney in criminal cases, they’re not afforded the same rights in civil litigation.

Most Read