Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Feb 17 2015

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s agency-request bill to raise the state’s legal smoking age to 21 passed a key legislative hurdle today. The House Health Care & Wellness Committee approved the bill in a bipartisan 12 to 3 vote.

“This legislation will protect young Washingtonians from the health consequences of a lifetime of addiction,” Ferguson said. “If we do nothing, more than 100,000 kids in our state are currently projected to die prematurely from the effects of smoking. But if we continue to work together across party lines, we can have a major impact on those numbers.”

The proposed law, Senate Bill 5494 and House Bill 1458 sponsored by Sen. Mark Miloscia (R-Federal Way) and Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines), respectively, would raise Washington’s age to legally use and possess tobacco and nicotine products from 18 to 21.

“This bill will help keep our schools free of tobacco products to reduce access to highly addictive substances, like nicotine, and protect our youth from a life of addiction and poor health,” Orwall said.

“I am pleased my colleagues recognize the benefits in saving lives and driving down healthcare costs that would result from this action,” Miloscia said. “We’ll continue to push for broad, bipartisan support to get this passed.”

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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Attorney General Bob Ferguson is working hard to protect consumers and seniors against fraud, keep our communities safe, protect our environment and stand up for our veterans. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.

CONTACT:
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov