The 2016 legislative session is officially over. The short session was very busy for legislators and they had a lot to accomplish in a short period of time. While we weren’t successful in passing legislation to raise the tobacco purchase age to 21, we made a lot of progress on the issue.
I’d like to extend an especially big thank you to advocates who attended our annual lobby day/Heart of Washington Day at the Capitol on February 9th. The meetings with legislators and staff gave us valuable feedback on where they stood on the issue. This information will be helpful next legislative session when we are back and working on this issue again. Because of the great seeds you planted, 2017 is going to be our year for Tobacco to 21!
Thank you to everyone who supported this legislation in other ways as well. If you took action on one of our alerts, know it made a difference. We heard from committee chairs that they got the message loud and clear from you.
Though the Legislature did not move on Tobacco to 21, they did pass legislation to regulate the e-cigarette market and further protect against youth access to these products. Now retailers will be licensed just like tobacco retailers, products must be in child-resistant packaging and carry both nicotine content and warning labels, and use is restricted where children often gather. Funds related to the regulation of the market will be used to fund youth tobacco and e-cigarette prevention work throughout the state.