As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s the mantra of Washington state’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, when it comes to getting the minimum age to purchase tobacco products raised from 18 to 21-years-old.
Ferguson’s office has released the attorney general’s legislative priorities for 2019, and chief among the topics is raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco. This will be the fifth consecutive year that Ferguson has sought an increase through the state’s legislature.
This year, the legislation will be sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue) and Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver). It 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.
Last year, similar legislation received the approval of the Washington House of Representatives but did not receive a vote in the Senate.
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. The Illinois legislature also passed a similar increase this year, only to have it vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner and unable to come up with enough votes in the House to override the veto.
Washington’s Legislature opens its 2019 session on Jan. 14, 2019.