Wash. lawmakers look to raise legal tobacco age

Wash. lawmakers push to raise smoking age (12-22-17)

SPOKANE, Wash.— The Spokane Regional Health Board backed a measure to raise the tobacco age to 21 years old.

Spokane Regional Health Board member AJ Sanders said a common objection to initiatives like this are looking at how effective it will actually be.

Many people feel that some teenagers do things that are illegal anyway and question if changing the law would make a difference. 

Sanders said the point was that 18-year-olds are still in high school so it’s easier for them to know younger students and provide them with tobacco. 

Statistics from the Spokane Health district said 65 percent of youth tobacco users in Spokane said in a survey they got their products from someone else.

“In order for younger youth to access tobacco, raising the age to 21 would keep it off high school campuses, and we do know that many youth are accessing through 18-year-olds that are purchasing for them or giving them cigarettes.  In fact some of them say we borrowed or ‘bummed’ from somebody on school property who could have been an 18 year old,” said Sanders.

Research showed that 95 percent of adult smokers started before they were 21, and many of those people transitioned from experimenting to regular use between the ages of 18 and 21.  

Surveys said there were fewer kids smoking, but vaping has not seen the same decline. 

Reports said right now the initiative is a bill in the House of representatives in Olympia.  
 

© 2018 KREM-TV


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