The Washington State Department of Health is reminding the public that Engrossed House Bill 1074 goes into effect on January 1, 2020, when it will become illegal to sell tobacco and vapor products to anyone under 21. This reminder comes amid a state investigation into lung illness related to vaping – which has identified 12 cases to date – and a recent State Board of Health emergency rule banning the sale of flavored vapor products.
“Tobacco and Vapor 21 will help protect the health of our young people,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “Teenagers are vaping and using nicotine at truly alarming rates. No one solution can reverse this trend, but this law is an important step that will prevent thousands of Washington kids from developing a lifelong addiction to nicotine.”
In 2018, one in five Washington 10th graders and almost one in three 12th graders reported using vapor products (Healthy Youth Survey). Nearly all people who smoke begin smoking before age 21—while their brains are particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction. Raising the legal age of sale will help protect young people by preventing them from getting tobacco and vapor products from peers who are 18, 19, or 20 year olds.
Tobacco kills more than 8,000 Washingtonians each year. Washingtonians can get free help to quit smoking or vaping by contacting the Washington State Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by accessing a smartphone app at www.doh.wa.gov/quit. Parents and schools can find more information about how to address youth vaping at www.youthnow.me/schools, and the public can learn more about the new law at www.doh.wa.gov/tobacco-and-vapor-21.