The Washington state House of Representatives has approved its version of a bill that will increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old, approving it on Wednesday by a 66-3o vote with two members absent.
The bill does not make any changes to laws regarding the possession or use of tobacco, leaving that at 18-years-old. It also will not affect sales on military installations, and it will not seek a penalty for possession of tobacco products by a person under 21-years-old.
Washington has tried to pass similar increases in several of the most recent legislative sessions, with the idea becoming a priority for Attorney General, Bob Ferguson. Last year, similar legislation received the approval of the House of Representatives but did not receive a vote in the Senate.
The bill, H.B. 1074, now heads to the Senate for further deliberation. If passed as written, the increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Currently, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon have all raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco and tobacco alternatives to 21-years-old. Roughly 20 states have active legislation seeking similar increases.
Featured image by User:Cacophony [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons