A newly conducted poll has shown that voters in Washington State are highly supportive of the idea to raise the minimum legal smoking and vaping age to 21. Hawaii was the first state to institute legislation setting a higher minimum legal smoking age from 18 to 21, on January 1 2016. The State of New Jersey would have been second had Mayor Chris Christie not shot down the bill carrying the same proposition a few weeks later.
Had it been enacted, the bill passed by the Democrat controlled lawmaking house would have meant fines of up to one thousand dollars to retailers apprehended selling tobacco products to people below 21 years of age and e-cigarettes to those younger than 20 years. The study by the independent pollster Stuart Elway has indicated that sixty five per cent of the 500 people they talked to in Washington wished for the state to follow suit and raise the legal smoking age from the current minimum of 18 to 21.
The Washington State Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, is very keen on the law and has been encouraging the State’s legislators to enact it. The move is said to have strong bipartisan support in the state and the State Attorney General has cited the poll results as a sign of the people’s readiness for the already overdue changes. He has pointed this out as one more reason why the law should be instituted; supporting his argument more by the fact that smoking is the top cause of preventable death in the United States. As such, he said, passing the law would be a direct step forward in saving young people’s lives.
Recent research showed that cigarette smoking has plummeted to a new low as of December 2015. The poll results indicated that it has slumped to 22 percent in those between 18 and 29 years of age, a twelve point dip in the past decade. Currently, younger people are a lot less likely to smoke than those aged between 30 and 64. Smoking rates have generally been on the decline in the past few decades, the total number of smokers in the adult population now standing at 18 percent.
These results are consistent with those from a recent Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) study conducted on 18 to 24 year olds which showed a sharp decline. The CDC found out in a November 2015 study that the use of e-cigarettes on the other hand is on the rise and especially among young people.