Letter: Raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21, save lives

Editor,

My father started smoking at age 18, when he joined the Marines. He developed chronic obstructive disease in his 70s and struggled to breathe his last five years. When I cleaned his house right before we lost him, I found cigarettes in his coat pocket.

Smoking is a horrible addiction that I fight to keep my grandchildren from having.

I don’t want other people to see their father die from smoking.

That’s why I joined dozens of other cancer advocates at the state capitol on Feb. 25 with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

We urged our lawmakers to pass House Bill 1074, which would raise the age of sale for all tobacco products to 21.

The bill would also apply to e-cigarettes. If passed, it would help keep tobacco products out of high schools.

As a grandmother, I’m concerned with the high rates of youth tobacco use in Washington.

In fact, about 2,500 kids in the state start smoking every year.

And nearly 21 percent of high school students use e-cigarettes.

This bill would help reduce these numbers.

HB 1074 recently passed the state House of Representatives and now needs to pass the state Senate.

Please raise the tobacco sales age to 21. It will reduce tobacco use, protect kids and save lives.

Lynda Walrath

Oak Harbor

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