State Passes Age 21 Tobacco Law, Goes Into Effect 2020
By a vote of 33-12, the Washington State Senate Wednesday approved a bill that coincides with the House version from February, which will raise the state's tobacco purchase age to 21.
Gov. Inslee, who supported the legislation, has said he will sign the bill into law soon. It will go into effect January 1st, 2020. That means after Jan 1st, those under 21 cannot buy tobacco and it also applies to any and all vaping products too.
According to information from Attorney General Bob Ferguson:
"Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the Washington State Department of Health jointly requested the legislation, which Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, sponsored. Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, sponsored the companion Senate bill and helped move the bill to the floor for a vote. The House of Representatives passed the bill with a bipartisan vote of 66-30 on Feb. 20. "
While few will dispute the medical evidence that tobacco has on the body, this has touched off a raging debate, mostly about personal freedom and responsibility. Many who opposed the bill said it's interesting that 'teens' or young adults are old enough to vote (18) old enough to drive (16) and old enough to die in the military (18) but the state believes they should oversee their personal health choices.
They argue part of the freedom of our Republic is the ability to make choices (even if they're not always the most prudent) when it comes to their own life--including health.
It is expected, say observers on the political scene, to cause a 'rush' on stockpiling tobacco products by those 18-21 between now and Jan 1st. No immediate word was released by representatives of various retail industries (such as convenience store) who make significant sales to those in that age window.