Washington bill to raise smoking age amended - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington bill to raise smoking age amended

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - House Bill 1458, which aims to raise the legal age to buy, use, or possess tobacco to 21, was amended by the House Finance Committee on Friday. 

The amended bill, passed by a vote of 9-7, includes changing the proposed age of 21 to 19, and push the effective date back four years. The original bill to raise the age to 21 passed the House Health Care & Wellness Committee on February 17, by a vote of 12-3. 

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson expressed his disappointment with the amendment Friday. 

“I am deeply disappointed by the committee's changes, which gut the public health impacts of this bill,” Ferguson said. “I understand our state's current budget situation, but we should not be balancing our budget on the backs of teens and jeopardizing their long-term health. We had the votes in committee to raise the smoking age immediately. I intend to work with our bipartisan group of supporters to amend this legislation on the House floor.”

Ferguson said research indicated that raising the smoking age to 21 would significantly reduce the number of adolescents and young adults who start smoking and reduce deaths. 





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