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One state seeks to increase the legal smoking age from 18 to 21

(Business News) After other states have made an impact on smoking rates in young adults, Washington seeks to do the same with a proposed new law changing the legal smoking age.

cigarette smoke

cigarette smoke

Washington seeking to follow other states’ leads

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is pushing a bill that seeks to raise the legal smoking age limit from 18 to 21 in the state. This proposal, if passed, would apply to both cigarettes and vapor products and would make Washington the first state in our country to raise the legal smoking limit to 21 years of age.

The goal of the measure is to limit access to the highly addictive smoking products and lower health care expenses related to smoking. While it would ultimately cost the state $20 million in tax revenue, Ferguson explains that 8,300 Washington residents are killed annually from tobacco-related illness and this contributes $2.8 billion in healthcare costs in the state.

“The damage tobacco does to the lives and health of Washingtonians is devastating,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Research shows the young adult brain, still developing between 18 and 21, is highly susceptible to nicotine addiction. We must do more to protect our youth from tobacco’s grip, and this bill is an important step toward keeping nicotine out of the hands of kids and young adults.”

It is important to break this cycle of young adult nicotine addiction for our future generations. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids explains the troubling trend of teen and young adult smoking: “National data shows that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21. The ages of 18 to 21 are also a critical period when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use.”

Similar measures made a big impact on smoking rates in young adults

While most states in our nation have their smoking age limits set at 18 years of age, the bill was inspired by progressive cities like Needham, Massachusetts, which recently passed similar measures and saw a significant drop, by more than half, in the amount of young adults taking up smoking. Utah, New Jersey, Alabama, and Alaska have also passed measures that require their state’s tobacco users to be 19 years of age or older.

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Measures that help prevent the youth of America from becoming addicted to nicotine will help curb health ramifications as the younger generation ages. Ferguson is hoping to have his bill passed in the next few years and he hopes this legislation will have lasting positive effects on the health of Washington residents.


Written By

Emily Crews is a staff writer at The American Genius and holds a degree in English from Western Kentucky University. Reading, music, black coffee, and her two little girls rule her life. She sees herself one day running a tiny bookstore at the end of the Earth. In the meantime, she is thrilled to write for AG and also does copy editing (team Oxford comma) to keep her brain from turning to mush.

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