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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 26, 2019
Contact:
Gabrielle Byrne, Public Information Specialist, (360) 867-2514 or email at byrneg@co.thurston.wa.us 

Thurston County Joins Statewide Effort to  Inform Public About Tobacco, Vapor 21 Legislation


​OLYMPIA – As part of its work to protect kids and teens from smoking and vaping, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services is reminding the public that Engrossed House Bill 1074 goes into effect on Wednesday, January 1, 2020. This legislation makes it illegal to sell tobacco and vapor products to anyone under 21.

"The rates of young people vaping are alarming," said Schelli Slaughter, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Director. "Raising the age of sale for tobacco and vapor products to 21 will reduce the number of kids who develop a lifelong addiction to nicotine and save lives."

An increasing number of local youth are using vapor products with nicotine. One in three Thurston County high school seniors and one in five county 10th graders use vapor products, according to the 2018 Healthy Youth Survey. Kids who vape are at an increased risk to start cigarette smoking. Raising the legal age of sale will help protect young people by preventing them from getting tobacco and vapor products before they turn 21.

Nearly all people who smoke begin smoking before age 21—while their brains are particularly vulnerable to the effects of nicotine—and most young people get tobacco and nicotine products from peers in their social networks who can legally buy them.  

Tobacco kills more than 8,000 Washingtonians each year. Washingtonians can get free help to quit smoking or vaping by contacting the Washington State Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by accessing a smartphone app at www.doh.wa.gov/quit. Parents and schools can find more information about how to address youth vaping at www.youthnow.me/schools.

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County Commissioners:

John Hutchings
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3