Did your state make the grade?

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. Removing youth purchase, use, and possession laws;
  2. Achieving tax parity for electronic cigarettes; and
  3. Increasing funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

During the 2021 legislative Session, Representative Pollett and Senator Kuderer introduced House Bill 1345 and Senate Bill 5266 respectively. This omnibus bill proposed changing the electronic cigarette tax to be 45% of the excise tax paid at retail by the customer and imposing a 4.4% surcharge on manufacturers and distributers of vapor and tobacco products. The proposal would also restrict the sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes and flavored tobacco products.

HB 1345 received a hearing in the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming but did not move out of committee. In the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce and Tribal Affairs, SB 5266 received a referral to the Health and Long-Term Care committee and did not receive a hearing.

Senator Saldaña was the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 5129 proposing the repeal of civil infractions prohibiting the purchase or possession of tobacco products or electronic tobacco products by a person under the age of 18. The Senate Committee on Human Services, Reentry and Rehabilitation held a hearing on the bill where it received a do pass recommendation. The bill was passed to the Rules committee where it unfortunately died for the session.

Funding for the state's tobacco prevention and control program was $1,555,942 for fiscal year 2022. This is lower than last year, but similar to funding levels from recent years. It remains far short of what the tobacco control program was once funded at in the 2000s.

During the 2022 legislative session, Washington will be in the second year of its two-year legislative cycle. The above three mentioned bills will be eligible for consideration. The American Lung Association in Washington will continue efforts to work with stakeholders on policies to reduce the impact of tobacco on Washingtonians.
Washington Facts
Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $2,811,911,987
Adult Smoking Rate: 11.5%
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 2020 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.

Health impact information is taken from the Smoking Attributable Mortality, Morbidity and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) software. Smoking attributable deaths reflect average annual estimates for the period 2005-2009 and are calculated for persons aged 35 years and older. Smoking attributable healthcare expenditures are based on 2004 smoking attributable fractions and 2009 personal healthcare expenditure data. Deaths and expenditures should not be compared by state.

Washington Information

Learn more about your state specific legislation regarding efforts towards effective Tobacco Control.

State Grades Report Laws & Policies