Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Washington. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Washington's elected officials:
1. Prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products;
2. Establish tax parity with all tobacco products; and
3. Defend clean indoor air laws.

In September 2019, Governor Inslee signed an executive order asking the Washington State Board of Health to adopt emergency rules to restrict the sale of flavored vapor products. The Board of Health met on October 9, 2019 and passed an emergency rule prohibiting the sale of flavored vapor products or any products that would be used to create a flavored vapor product. The rule went into effect on October 10, lasting for 120 days, giving time for the legislature to take permanent action.

Governor Inslee requested legislation in both the House and the Senate to make the sales restriction permanent. Representative Pollett and Senator Kuderer championed House Bill 2454 and Senate Bill 6254 respectively. Neither bill received a committee vote.

Senate Bill 6254 made its way through the Senate Health and Long-Term Care, Ways and Means and the Rules committee. An amendment was made in the Ways and Means committee to provide an exemption for menthol flavors and the American Lung Association withdrew its support for the legislation. The bill moved to the Senate floor and passed (35–13). No further action was taken.

The American Lung Association will support and advocate for comprehensive legislation in the 2021 session to restrict the sale of all flavored tobacco products. The Lung Association will also pursue legislation to create tax parity for all tobacco products. During the 2019 session, the legislature adopted a weight-based tax for vaping products. We will advocate for a more equitable tax (as compared with cigarettes) and a percentage-based tax.
  • Washington Facts
  • Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $2,811,911,987

  • Adult Smoking Rate: 12.6%

  • High School Smoking Rate: 5.0%

  • High School Tobacco Use Rate: N/A

  • Middle School Smoking Rate: 2.7%

  • Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 8,290

Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school (10th grade only) and middle school (8th grade only) smoking rates are taken from the 2018 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey. A current high school tobacco use rate is not available for this state.



LUNG FORCE Expo
, | Jun 24, 2021