Washington State Senate Fails to Act on Tobacco Purchase Age Increase Bill

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With the closing of the regular session of the Washington state legislature on March 8, a number of bills seeking to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco effectively died due to lack of action.

The most promising of the bunch, H.B. 1054, was passed by the House of Representative on March 7 by a vote of 63-35 and then sent to the Senate the following day, though with the clock ticking it only received a first reading and referral to the Senate Ways & Means Committee. By law, once the session closed, it was returned to the House.

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Washington had been considered one of the more promising states to join five other states in making the minimum age to purchase tobacco products 21-years-old, as it was the third consecutive year that the proposal had been introduced. The bills came at the request of Bob Ferguson, the state’s attorney general, and John Wiesman, secretary of the state’s health department, both of who remain ardent supporters of the increase.

Washigton joins Florida as states to recently see tobacco purchasing age increase bills defeated. West Virginia, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Idaho, Alabama and Mississippi have also had bills fail this session.

Five states have moved to make the minimum age 21-years-old: CaliforniaHawaiiMaine, New Jersey and Oregon have all raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21-years-old. Legislation seeking a similar increase remains active in Minnesota and Illinois.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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