Washington State’s Governor Signs Tobacco 21 Into Law

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Advocates for this bill feel it will help save lives by reducing the number of younger Americans from becoming addicted to nicotine and smoking. Based on a 2015 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, it is estimated that by raising the national age to purchase tobacco 21 would reduce adult smoking prevalence by 12 percent and eventually prevent 223,000 of today’s youth from dying early of tobacco-related causes [view study here]. Advocates believe that the Tobacco 21 legislation will make these products harder to get for the state’s 18- to 21-year-olds. They also believe that it will help remove the availability of tobacco and vapor products from the social circles of most teens and demoralizes the use of these products, making it less likely teens will want to use modern products like JUUL and traditional, combustible tobacco products.

Washington state joins a group of nearly a dozen states that have passed or are considering some form of a Tobacco 21 law. Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert signed his state’s Tobacco 21 into effect in April 2019 as well. Arkansas’ Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Arkansas’ version this month as well. California, New Jersey, Hawaii, Virginia, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts already have statewide Tobacco 21 laws. New York, Illinois, and Texas are all considering their own Tobacco 21 legislation bills. In recent days, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) revealed that he would also be introducing a federal Tobacco 21 bill in May 2019, inspired by the growing use of e-cigarettes and vaping products among America’s youth [read more here].

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