Tobacco sales to anyone under 21 could become illegal

  • Friday, January 11, 2019 10:50pm
  • News

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 from 18 to 21.

House Bill 1074 is 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 the age of 21. Current age limit is set at 18 years old.

The bill intends to decrease the number of eligible buyers in high school in order to reduce access of students 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, of Driftwood Vapor in Lacey, said he thinks that the proposed bill is a good idea, but won’t accomplish much. When Smith was underage, he said he found that it was easy to purchase tobacco products.

“It will probably reduce underage usage,” said Smith. “It won’t be eliminated, though.”

Smith said he 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 which 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 a report by the institute, among adult daily smokers, approximately 90 percent report their first use of cigarettes before the age of 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 development of areas of the brain.

The center’s scientific studies of the brain have shown that humans are highly vulnerable to addictive substances until the age of 25.

HB 1074 ultimately aims to reduce the youth smoking rate in order to save lives and reduce health care costs, according to backers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that tobacco use causes approximately 6 million deaths per year.

According to the CDC, in Washington state, more than $2.8 billion in health care costs can be directly attributed to the use of tobacco.

More in News

Port of South Whidbey agrees to join Creative District effort

Langley is inching closer to becoming certifiably creative. Eight organizations have come… Continue reading

Annual music festival on the water canceled

An annual musical event at the Langley marina has been cancelled this… Continue reading

WICA brings Mueller report to stage Aug. 23

Whidbey Island Center for the Arts will present Robert Schenkkan’s “The Investigation:… Continue reading

Commissioners sign contract to build mental health crisis center

Whidbey Island is a step closer to having its first facility for… Continue reading

Whidbey’s Janie Cribbs keeps on belting out the blues

By Patricia Guthrie Special to The Record Stevie Nicks, Janis Joplin, Bonnie… Continue reading

Port hits permit snag in planned fairgrounds renovation

Planned kitchen upgrades at the fairgrounds have hit permit snags, and the… Continue reading

Motorcyclist injured in collision with deer

A deer precipitated a serious motorcycle accident on South Whidbey Aug. 6,… Continue reading

Port considers expanding harbor

The Port of South Whidbey is in the earliest stages of looking… Continue reading

Pigfest is cooking up new events on Sunday

The island’s biggest barbecue will have new activities, different bands and thousands… Continue reading

Most Read