This 2017 photo shows vape liquids, including a brand named “Seattle Freeze,” displayed at the Future Vapor store in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

This 2017 photo shows vape liquids, including a brand named “Seattle Freeze,” displayed at the Future Vapor store in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Legal age to buy smokes soon to be 21 — except on tribal lands

Inslee is expected to sign the legislation that applies to the sale of tobacco and vaping products.

OLYMPIA — Washington is on the verge of outlawing the sale of cigarettes and vaping products to anyone younger than 21.

On Wednesday, the state Senate passed a bill raising the legal age for buying tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related vape devices from 18 to 21.

The measure, which cleared the House in February, will be sent to Gov. Jay Inslee for his expected signature.

“This bill is about saving lives,” Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, said in Wednesday’s floor debate.

Research shows those who are not smoking by the time they are 21 are far less likely to ever start, she said.

“That saves millions of dollars in health care costs” for the state, she said.

Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, one of the dissenters, argued that if the state can trust an 18-year-old with the responsibility of voting than why not with this matter.

“Either you are an adult and intelligent enough to make your own decisions at 18, or not,” he said. “This is a personal freedom issue.”

Passage of the legislation comes amid signs that vaping is growing in popularity among students.

The 2018 Healthy Youth Survey found fewer Snohomish County middle and high school students are smoking cigarettes but their use of vapor products, such as e-cigarettes and vape pens, is increasing.

Based on survey responses, one in 10 eighth-grade students vape; one in five have tried vaping.

Nearly half of high school seniors responding to the survey tried an e-cigarette or vape pen. About 30 percent said they vape.

In the Senate floor debate, members on both sides of the final vote expressed concern that those under 21 will still be able to buy cigarettes and vapor products from smoke shops on tribal lands. The change in state law would not apply to reservations.

“Why create a two-tier system,” said Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, who voted against the bill. “Let’s have one fair standard for all of Washington.”

Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, voted for the bill to honor the memory of her sister and parents who died from lung cancer.

But she said she is worried about smoke shops on reservation lands. She called on tribal leaders to follow the state’s lead and raise the age.

The measure broadly mirrors versions considered in the Legislature in each of the past three years. None cleared both chambers of the Legislature, although the 2018 effort made it further than the previous two after Democrats regained control of the Senate.

California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia and Oregon have already raised the smoking age inside their borders, as has Guam, according to the American Lung Association and the Centers for Disease Control.

House Bill 1074 passed the Senate on a 33-12 vote. The House approved it 66-30 on Feb. 20.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Body found in impounded car in Lake Stevens

In June, Bothell police impounded the vehicle. Last week, a Lake Stevens business found a body inside.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
California woman dies after motorcycle crash west of Lake Stevens

Kimberly Moore was the passenger on a motorcycle Friday morning. She died the next night. She was 53.

A view of the proposed alternative station location to Everett Station located east of the current BNSF rail tracks in downtown. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could light rail station under Pacific Avenue and over railroad work?

A group representing people around Everett Station wants Sound Transit to study the idea.

State Representative Robert Sutherland, left, gives a thumbs-up to passing drivers as he and a few volunteers wave flags and campaign signs along the side of State Route 9 on July 22, in Lake Stevens. Sam Low, right, talks with seniors on July 20 in Lake Stevens. (Sutherland photo by Ryan Berry / The Herald, Low photo by Kevin Clark / The Herald)
In GOP battle of Sutherland vs. Low, Democrats may tip the scale

The state lawmaker and Snohomish County council member are vying for a House seat. Democrats make up roughly 40% of the vote.

Chocolate peanut butter Incredibles

These chocolate peanut butter bars are, as the name suggests, incredible.

SnoTown Brewing’s Frank Sandoval in 2019. (Aaron Swaney)
SnoTown Brewery owner charged with child molestation

Frank Sandoval conceded his conduct with a girl at his brewery was inappropriate, but he denied touching her sexually, charges say.

Everett
Head-on crash in Everett leaves man with life-threatening injuries

A two-vehicle collision in the 11600 block of Evergreen Way shut down southbound traffic Monday morning.

Members of Casino Connect line up to stow luggage Tuesday morning aboard the Adventuress in Everett on August 9, 2022.  The teens will go on a four-day sailing trip where they learn about maritime skills and environmental science. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Casino Road teens on tall ship Adventuress set sail for 4-day voyage

The Everett at Sea program offers outdoor, on-the-water lessons that “underserved youth” might not get otherwise.

Jason Moon, new member of Mukilteo City Council and the first Korean American. He was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Joe Marine, who was elected mayor.
(Submitted photo)
Free food, fun at Korean American Appreciation Day in Mukilteo

City Councilmember Jason Moon organized the Aug. 13 event to connect people of all cultures.

Most Read