• Bill proposing to boost legal smoking age clears first hurdle


    A bill raising the legal smoking age to 21 cleared its first legislative hurdle on Friday.
    The bill not only targets the sale age of tobacco but vapor products.                         

    State Attorney General Bob Ferguson requested the legislation to boost the smoking age. The bill passed the House Health Care & Wellness Committee in a bipartisan 9-3 vote.
    "This legislation will literally save lives," said Ferguson.  "I thank legislators from both parties for standing with me to protect Washington youth from a life of addiction and tobacco-related health problems.  The momentum for this common-sense reform is building."
    A new poll says legislation that would raise Washington's smoking age to 21 has more support than keeping the legal age to buy tobacco at 18.

    A survey by independent pollster Stuart Elway released at a news conference last week says 65 percent of voters back hiking the smoking age to 21, while 35 percent oppose a potential raise.

    The survey of 500 registered voters was taken Dec. 28-30 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

    A report by the state Department of Health says smoking-related illnesses cost each Washington household about $628 a year in health care costs. 

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