OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington House of Representatives passed House Bill 1074 Tuesday with a vote of 66-30.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, and now heads to the Senate.
“This legislation is so important to help save lives from a preventable death and protect youth from a lifetime addiction. E-cigarettes and other tobacco products are rampant in our schools and communities," Mary McHale, Washington government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) said in a news release.
"High school is a crucial time when youth become addicted to tobacco and we know that most young teens are getting tobacco products from their 18-year-old classmates.”
If House Bill 1074 passes into law, Washington would become the seventh state to raise the tobacco sales age to 21, joining California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.
“This is one of those few bills that gets proposed in Olympia that can literally save lives,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson told KIRO 7 in December 2018.
Critics have previously warned of lower state tax revenues.
“On the short term there's a cost because you lose that tax revenue of teenagers buying cigarettes. It's about three million bucks a year. But in the long term, of course, the state will gain many millions more because of all the saving-related health impacts they have as they get older,” Ferguson said.
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