About the Campaign
Washington 21 is a coalition of organizations whose mission is to save lives by preventing tobacco use.
About 95% of smokers start before age 21. In Washington, 3,900 kids become daily smokers every year. And one-third of them will die prematurely as a result.
Raising the tobacco sale age to 21 is an effective strategy to fight tobacco use and it’s gaining momentum nationwide. California and Hawaii have raised their tobacco sale ages to 21, along with at least 170 cities and counties across the country. Now there’s an effort underway to do the same in Washington. Let’s get it done.
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In the News
Recent news coverage of Washington 21.
Should the legal age for tobacco sales be raised from 18 to 21? The Clallam County Board of Health has passed a resolution asking the state Legislature to do just that. Board members voted Tuesday to call on the Legislature to raise the minimum sales age for tobacco and nicotine vapor products to 21.
The new data showing that the percentage of adults who smoke fell to 15 percent in 2015 is a good sign for the nation’s health. And it also should serve as a notice for lawmakers in Washington to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. If a reduction in smoking is unequivocally positive for public health, shouldn’t the Legislature take reasonable steps to further reduce the number of smokers?
Banning tobacco sales to those 21 and younger can reduce high school student smoking by more than one-half, as it did in the first city to raise the age: Needham, Massachusetts. Hawaii became the first state to do so last year.
The number of teens and young adults who smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco and use vaping products — and risk their health and that of others — could be driven down further if Washington and other states raised the minimum age for smoking to 21.
The best way to combat this crisis is to raise the legal smoking age to 21, as the Legislature is considering with SHB 1458. Attorney General Bob Ferguson requested the bill, and science supports his efforts.
Southeast Seattle P.E.A.C.E. Coalition