Governor, Attorney General Urge Washington Legislators to Raise Tobacco Age to 21
Citing new studies that show vaping, or use of e-cigarettes, is rising rapidly among teens, Thursday Gov. Jay Inslee urged new legislation to help curb the problem.
While not specifically demanding the tobacco age be raised to 21 in our state, Inslee said there does need to be increased action. From his statements Thursday:
"Inslee cited preliminary results from the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey that show 8.5 percent of 8th graders, 18 percent of high school sophomores and 23 percent of high school seniors in Washington state reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. Preliminary data shows consistent trends for cigarette smoking, indicating e-cigarette use is completely additional."
However, Attorney General Bob Ferguson openly called for legislators to pass legislation that's being considered that would raise the age for all tobacco products in Washington to 21. From his comments Thursday:
"In a news conference today to release the new “vaping” data, Governor Inslee also called on the Legislature to pass a bill regulating vapor products that he and the Attorney General have requested. Inslee also endorsed AG Ferguson’s proposed law to raise the legal smoking age to 21. That bill, SB 5494 in the Senate and HB 1458 in the House, received a hearing on February 11, 2015, before the House Committee on Health Care & Wellness..."
According to various legislative sources, there is a significant amount of bi-partisan support for these ideas, but it is not an overwhelming majority. Inslee and Ferguson both agreed on they felt was a need for more stringent regulation of e-cigs.