Washington lawmakers try to hike legal smoking age to 21

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A new push is on by Washington lawmakers to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

An effort to raise it last year didn't gain traction, but lawmakers filed a new bill in advance of the legislative session that begins Monday. A new law in Hawaii recently raised its smoking age to 21 — becoming the first state to do so.

Bills introduced this year in both the Washington House and the Senate have bipartisan sponsorship. Purchase of vaping devices and e-cigarettes by those under 21 would also be banned by the bill.

The House measure has a hearing in the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

A report by the state Department of Health says smoking-related illnesses cost each Washington household about $628 a year in health care costs.