Tobacco Prevention Program Newsletter, Spring 2009
By Paul Zemann
This session the Washington State Legislature will consider multiple bills that could strengthen tobacco control and prevention in King County and the state. The Tobacco Prevention Program has been commuting to Olympia to provide expert testimony from Washington's most urban county on several of the bills and providing support for others. Here is a look at the docket and how the program is considering each bill:
||Description and TPP Analysis and Action
|HB 1249 / SB 5340
Restricts some internet and mail order sales of tobacco products.
Youth are easily able to purchase tobacco online, and are more likely to do so when it is difficult to obtain tobacco elsewhere. In order to keep prevention of youth access to tobacco comprehensive, the legislature needs to close this avenue of access. However, a bill that does not include cigars, which are growing in popularity among King County teens, is incomplete. The program has testified on this bill before both the House and Senate committees. We expressed support, conditional on expanding the bill to include all tobacco products.
||Imposes an additional cigarette tax and provides for distribution of the revenue.
Increased excise taxes on tobacco decrease tobacco consumption because higher prices motivate adults to quit or cut down and prevent youth from obtaining tobacco. Additionally, revenues from this bill would sustain funding for tobacco control and provide funding for other cancer reduction programs. The program will provide testimony in support of this bill if and when it moves to committee.
|HB 1435 / SB 5366
||Modifies license provisions for cigarettes and tobacco products.
The program supports this bill proposed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The bill switches the administration of tobacco licenses from the Department of Revenue to the Liquor Control Board, which will increase monitoring of applications to make sure individuals with prior violations -- for instance, sales to minors -- can not obtain new licenses by changing their business name.
||Prohibits smoking in vehicles containing children under the age of 18.
With Washington's Smoking in Public Places law, homes and cars are the biggest areas of exposure to secondhand smoke in the state. The program supports this bill as it would reduce youth exposure to secondhand smoke and reduce consumption of cigarettes.
*HB-House Bill, SB-Senate Bill
For the latest information on these and other bills in the state legislature, visit http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo.