Tobacco use in Washington 2021
Cigarette use: Washington
Cigarette smoking rates in Washington
- In 2020, 11.5% of adults smoked. Nationally, the rate was 15.5%.1
- In 2018, 8% of 12th graders in Washington smoked cigarettes on at least one day in the past 30 days. 2,3
Other tobacco product use: Washington
Vaping rates in Washington
- In 2017, 4.3% of adults in Washington used e-cigarettes.4
- In 2020, 2.6% of adults in Washington used smokeless tobacco.4
- In 2018, approximately 10% of 8th graders, 21% of 10th graders and 30% of 12th graders in Washington used vapor products on at least one day in the past 30 days.2
- In 2018, approximately 1% of 8th graders, 2% of 10th graders and 4% of 12th graders in Washington used chewing tobacco, snuff or dip on at least one day in the past 30 days.2
- In 2018, approximately 2% of 8th graders, 3% of 10th graders and 7% of 12th graders in Washington smoked cigars, cigarillos or little cigars on at least one day in the past 30 days.2
Economics of tobacco use and tobacco control
Washington cigarette tax
- Washington received $521.6 million (estimated) in revenue from tobacco settlement payments and taxes in fiscal year 2021.5
- Of this, the state allocated $2.1 million in state funds to tobacco prevention in fiscal year 2021, 3.4% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual spending target.5
- Smoking-caused health care costs: $2.81 billion per year.5
- Smoking-caused losses in productivity: $2.2 billion per year.6
Washington tobacco laws
Washington smoking laws
- Washington is ranked 11th in the U.S. for its cigarette tax of $3.025 per pack (enacted May 2010), compared to the national average of $1.91. (The District of Columbia has the highest tax at $4.50 and Missouri has the lowest at 17 cents.)7-9
- Little cigars are taxed at 15.125 cents per cigar. All other cigars are taxed at 95% of the taxable sales price, not to exceed 65 cents per cigar.
- Moist snuff is taxed at the greater of $2.526 or 83.5% of the cigarette tax multiplied by 20 for consumer sized cans or packages that weigh 1.2 ounces or less. Cans or packages that weigh more than 1.2 ounces are taxed at a proportionate rate for each ounce or fractional part of an ounce above 1.2 ounces.
- All other tobacco products are taxed 95% of the taxable sales price.7,8
Clean indoor air ordinances
- Smoking is prohibited in government workplaces, private workplaces, schools, childcare facilities, restaurants, bars, casinos/gaming establishments (tribal establishments exempt), retail stores and recreational/cultural facilities.7,8
- E-cigarette use is prohibited in and on grounds of child care facilities, schools, playgrounds, school buses, elevators, within 500 feet of schools, in indoor early learning facilities, in vehicles used to transport children and outdoors on property during non-business hours in a place that would not be considered a “public place” and at least 25 feet from entrances, windows and vents. Use of e-cigarettes within public institutions of higher education is restricted through regulation. Use of electronic smoking devices in state veteran homes is prohibited (except in designated outdoor smoking areas).10
- Retailers and wholesalers are required to obtain a license to sell tobacco products.7
- A license is required to sell e-cigarette products.10
Youth access laws
- Effective December 2019, the United States adopted a law raising the federal minimum age of sale of all tobacco products to 21. Some states have not yet raised their state minimum age of sale, however, the federal law takes precedence sale or distribution of vapor products to persons under age 21 is prohibited.
- Establishments are required to post signs stating that sales to underage consumers are prohibited and violators will be punished. The sign must also state that photo ID is required to purchase tobacco products.7
- Persons under age 18 are prohibited from possessing vapor products, including e-cigarettes.7
- Self-service displays of vapor products are prohibited except in retailers inaccessible to persons under age 21. 10
- Samples of vapor products must take place within licensed retail premises that is restricted to those over the age of 21 years, contain no nicotine (unless “customer explicitly consents”), and use a disposable mouthpiece. 10
- Free vapor product distribution is prohibited without contemporaneous purchase of vapor product. 10
- Sales of vapor products containing vitamin E acetate are prohibited. 10
- Delivery sales of vapor products are prohibited unless seller has a valid delivery sale license, verifies the age of the purchaser through a third-party database, and only accepts payment through a credit or debit card in the purchaser’s name. 10
- The sale or distribution and/or advertisement of electronic cigarettes on certain campuses of higher education is prohibited. (e.g., Eastern Washington University, WSU Vancouver, Washington State University Pullman). 10
Local tobacco laws
- Using smokeless tobacco is prohibited at professional sports venues in King County, including Safeco Field, CenturyLink Field and KeyArena.11
Quitting statistics and benefits
Quitting vaping and smoking in Washington
- The CDC estimates 46.7% of daily adult smokers in Washington quit smoking for one or more days in 2019.4
- In 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that Medicaid programs cover all tobacco cessation medications.8**
- Washington’s state quit line invests35 cents per smoker, compared to the national average of $2.28.8
- Washington does not have a private insurance mandate provision for cessation.8
Notes and references
Updated August 2021
*National and state-level prevalence numbers reflect the most recent data available. This may differ across state fact sheets.
**The seven recommended cessation medications are NRT gum, NRT patch, NRT nasal spray, NRT inhaler, NRT lozenge, Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban).
Fiore MC, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service: May 2008.
1. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2020.
2. Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, 2018.
3. CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2017.
4. CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System, 2021.
5. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Broken Promises to Our Children: a State-by-State Look at the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement 22 Years Later FY2021, 2020.
6. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Toll of Tobacco in the United States.
7. American Lung Association, State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI).
8. American Lung Association, State of Tobacco Control, 2021.
9. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. State Cigarette Excise Tax Rates & Rankings. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0097.pdf. Accessed.
10. Public Health Law Center. U.S. E-Cigarette Regulation: 50-State Review. http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/resources/us-e-cigarette-regulations-50-state-review. Accessed.
11. Knock Tobacco Out of the Park. https://tobaccofreebaseball.org/. Accessed.