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Lawmaker pushes for ban on flavored tobacco

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Lawmakers in Olympia have proposed a ban on flavored tobacco products, but barring such items could cost the state millions of dollars.

Bills in the House and Senate would ban flavored tobacco products such as cigarillos, and smokeless tobacco products like pouches, pills or capsules.

Secretary of the Department of Health Mary Selecky said Monday in a Senate hearing that flavor plays a big factor in attracting young smokers.

But Office of Financial Management reports that the state would lose around $20 million in the next biennium because of tax revenue loss. The state is facing a $5 billion deficit this session.

Republican Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry of Moses Lake says the bill may preclude adults from choices. Opponents also say the bill is sweeping because it could include pipe tobacco.

The measure also establishes more regulation on tobacco displays in stores and gives local authorities more power in tobacco regulations.

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