On February 12, more than 50 American Heart Association advocates gathered at the Washington State Capitol to advocate for an important heart-health policy: raising the purchase age for tobacco products to 21.
5 other states and more than 270 local governments have already raised the tobacco purchase age and we are hoping Washington will join that number soon. Research shows 95% of smokers start by the age of 21; this policy makes it more difficult for teens to access tobacco products through their peer group, ushering them to the age of 21 without picking up this deadly habit.
Our advocates were terrific messengers! Survivors, parents and youth advocates urged legislators to not delay any longer and vote yes this session. Youth advocates including high school seniors from Eastlake High School in Sammamish, were particularly compelling given their personal insights to youth tobacco use and access. In more than one meeting these students surprised legislators and their staff with first hand experiences of just how easy it is to gain access to tobacco products - especially e-cigarettes.
It was a great day and we appreciate the commitment of our advocates to travel to Olympia and hold important meetings with their legislators.
At the time of this writing, Tobacco to 21 continued to move through the legislative process, but there is much to do before session ends March 8. Please contact your lawmaker here with your message of support for Tobacco to 21.