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Poll: Washington Voters Give Thumbs Up To New Vaping Age Of 21

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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A new poll shows Washington voters are happy to follow Hawaii’s example and raise the age of smoking and vaping to 21.

Almost two-thirds of voters in the state of Washington supported banning sales of tobacco and e-cigarettes for those younger than 21, according to independent pollster Stuart Elway. Thirty-five percent of the 500 people polled said they supported the status quo and wanted the smoking age to be left at 18. Washington’s State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is calling on legislators to enact a higher smoking and vaping age. The measure reportedly has strong bi-partisan support.

“Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States,” Ferguson said in a news release. “Elway’s poll proves Washingtonians agree: It is time to make this common-sense change to state law and save kids’ lives.”

Hawaii became the first state Jan. 1 to raise its smoking age to 21. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shot down a bill Tuesday that would have made New Jersey the second state to raise the smoking and vaping age to 21.

The bill, which was passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature, would have hit retailers with a fine of up to $1,000 for selling tobacco products to anyone under 21 or e-cigarettes to anyone younger than 20. (RELATED: Chris Christie Kills Bill Raising Smoking And Vaping Age In New Jersey)

A Gallup poll released in December 2015 showed cigarette smoking among young adults had plummeted to a new low. November data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also revealed a surge in e-cigarette use.

The Gallup poll reported a decline in smoking among adults aged 18-29 by 12 percentage points to 22 percent over the past decade. The slump has been so pronounced that young people are now a little less likely to smoke than those aged 30 to 64, a significant change since the early 2000s, according to Gallup.

The findings “align with those found in a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, which found that cigarette smoking has dropped most sharply among 18- to 24-year-olds,” reported Gallup.

Smoking rates have been in a downward trend for decades, with the percentage of current smokers now down to a little under 18 percent.

The sharp fall in cigarette smoking has been accompanied by an equally impressive rise in e-cigarette use, especially among young adults who are the most likely to vape out of all age groups. (RELATED: Gallup Poll Shows Smoking Rate Collapsing As E-Cigarette Use Soars)

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