Letter: Include cigars in mail-order ban

October 23, 2013 

According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Smoking and Tobacco Use Fact Sheet," 3.9 percent of all U.S. students in grades 6-8 are cigar users, while 10.9 percent of all U.S. students in grades 9-12 are cigar users. In addition, Washington's "Healthy Youth Survey" consistently shows similar or higher rates of cigar smoking among minors.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 ruled that delivery companies cannot be required to verify that tobacco recipients are 18 or older. In response to this ruling, Washington's Attorney General Rob McKenna asked the state Legislature in 2009 to draft a new law prohibiting mail-order tobacco shipments into and within the state to all consumers. Thus, in 2009, Washington enacted a new law making it illegal to ship tobacco products into and within Washington. However the new law made a special exception for all cigars larger than a cigarette.

Clearly in view of the CDC and Healthy Youth Survey data cited above, the exception allowed for cigars in state law is inappropriate and allows minors easy access to a form of tobacco products that they actively seek.

RICK ORNSTEIN, Richland

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