Released: December 2nd, 2019
It’s official! As of January 1st, 2020, it is now illegal to sell tobacco and vapor products to anyone under 21. In addition to Washington State, Tobacco & Vapor 21 is currently in effect or due to go into effect in 18 states, including Washington DC and Guam.
Watch this short video with a message from the Washington State Secretary of Health about the new law:
If you’d like full details about the new law, the reason behind the change and other information regarding tobacco and vapor products, click here.
“Young people in Washington are in the middle of a vaping epidemic,” said Kory Kalahar, Board President of TOGETHER! for Youth. “Raising the legal age of sale for tobacco and vapor products to 21 will reduce the number of children who develop a lifelong addiction to nicotine and save thousands of lives.”
In 2018, one in five Washington 10th graders and one in three 12th graders reported using vapor products according to the Healthy Youth Survey, a bi-annual survey conducted in schools to measure major adolescent health risk behaviors in Washington State including tobacco, vaping, drug use and many more. Locally and statewide, more 10th graders who reported smoking also reported lower grades in school (C’s, D’s or F’s) compared to non-smokers. Nearly all people who smoke begin before age 21 – while their brains are particularly vulnerable to the effects of nicotine – and most young people get tobacco and nicotine products from peers in their social networks who can legally buy them. Youth who vape are at an increased risk of initiating cigarette smoking so raising the legal age of sale will help protect young people by preventing them from getting tobacco and vapor products from 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.