AUSTIN, Texas, and OLYMPIA, Wash. – Texas and Washington state may join California and Hawaii as the only states to raise the legal purchase age of tobacco products from 18 to 21, according to two separate news sources.
In Texas, Democrats have been leading the movement over the years, but 2017 is seeing some support from Republicans. “We can move this bill forward,” said state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, who is a physician and leader of the effort in the House. He will be joined by state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, and state Sens. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, and Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, who will each file a bill, according to the Dallas News.
Raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 could result in a 12% decrease in tobacco use among adults in Texas, the Dallas News said, citing a 2015 report from the National Academy of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
In Washington, KIRO Channel 7 news station said Senate bill 5025 and House bill 1054 would raise the legal age of sale for all tobacco, including electronic cigarettes, to 21. The station cited a statewide survey taken last year that showed 65% of voters backing the increase in age, with the state’s health department saying that 8% of Washington high schoolers smoked cigarettes and 18% used electronic cigarettes.