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Tobacco and Vapor 21 Law

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Curb tobacco and vapor product use to protect our youth

What is Tobacco and Vapor 21 in Washington?

  • Makes it illegal to sell tobacco and vapor products to anyone under 21.
  • The law went into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Why this law important?

  • Helps prevent initiation. Most smokers start before age 18 and become addicted to nicotine. It also reduces access to tobacco products from social sources.
  • Reduce tobacco related deaths and improve health outcomes. About 8,000 people in Washington die each year from tobacco related illnesses. Tobacco use causes lung cancer, pulmonary disease, heart attacks and stroke. Washington spends more than $2.8 billion on healthcare costs from tobacco related illness.
  • Decrease and delay youth use. The 2018 Healthy Youth Survey found 30% of 12th graders vape and 8% smoke cigarettes. Studies from Institute of Medicine strongly show raising the age to purchase tobacco will decrease youth initiation by 25%.

 What else do I need to know?

  • People ages 18-20 will not face penalties for purchase, possession, or use.
  • Youth under 18 years old will continue to face penalties for purchase, possession, or use.


Where can I find more information?