A newly proposed bill in Washington state aims to raise the state’s age requirement for purchasing vaping and tobacco products from 18 to 21 and according to one state senator, it’s all about protecting the next generation from the dangers of nicotine addiction.
Washington State Senator Mark Miloscia, who switched to the Republican Party in 2014 after more than two decades as a member of the Democratic Party, was quoted by The Spokesman-Review as having said that the bill has the potential to help prevent early deaths among youths and that it’s “about saving lives.”
“This is about saving lives.”
If the bill, which was heard on Thursday by the Senate Labor and Commerce committee, becomes law, tobacco and vape shops caught selling such products to anyone under the age of 21 would be in violation of the new law – resulting in a gross misdemeanor charge.
As for the state’s 18 to 20-year-olds found in possession of tobacco and vape products, there would be no penalty, according to Yasmin Trudeau with Washington state’s Office of the Attorney General.
For those residing on tribal reservations and military installations, the new regulations would not apply.
John Wiesman, the Washington Secretary of Health, referred to the bill as “the single most important policy we could adopt” for protecting our youth.
“Raising the minimum legal age for the sale of tobacco and vaping products to 21 is the single most important policy we could adopt to protect our kids.”
In perhaps what is an unintended consequence of the bill’s proposed age requirement for buying vaping and tobacco products, those who are using vaping as a smoking cessation to ditch their cigarette habits, specifically those age 20 and under, would no longer be able to purchase their vaping supplies at local shops. Subsequently, it could prove detrimental to those under the age of 20 that are trying to use vaping as a tool to quit smoking.
The bill could also have a negative impact on local vape and tobacco shops as it would further limit their potential customer base.