Spokane Health District pushes to raise smoking age


SPOKANE, Wash. -You already have to be 21 to buy alcohol, but if the Spokane Regional Health District has anything to say about it, that could soon apply to cigarettes too. They're hoping to make it harder for teenagers to buy and become addicted to cigarettes.

The Board of Health in Spokane County has voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that would make teens wait longer to start smoking legally. The resolution supports a statewide effort, led by the American Cancer Society, that would raise the minimum legal age for sales of tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 years old.

90 percent of smokers begin before the age of 21 and the majority become addicted before age 20, which the the ACS says is a critical time as young brains are still developing.

The Board of Health says smoking is a leading cause of preventable death here in the state, contributing to 8,300 death every year. They say their concern is for public health, especially when it comes to the youth in the community.

The resolution will be in front of lawmakers once again in January.

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