OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) — Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson went before the state’s Health Care & Wellness Committee on Jan. 23 to support an increase of the legal age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21.
Ferguson supporting House Bill 1054, a bill with bipartisan support in its third year. The legislation, which is supported by 65 percent of Washingtonians according to an Elway Research poll, would make Washington the third state to change the legal age to 21. Hawaii and California have already passed similar laws, and more than 2000 local jurisdictions have, as well.
“Washington state has long been front and center in the fight to protect kids from the dangers of smoking,” Ferguson said. “It is past time to pass this proposal into law.”
A U.S. Department of Health & Human Services survey in 2014 showed that about 95 percent of adult tobacco users start using before they turn 21.
“Stopping smoking saves lives,” said Sen. Mark Miloscia, chair of the Senate State Government Committee. “The research is clear that many smokers become addicted between the ages of 18 and 21. Simply increasing the smoking age to this milestone will have a significant and long-lasting effect on the number of addicted smokers, saving lives and driving down healthcare costs.”