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Harris gets award for Tobacco 21 bill

State Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, recently received an award for successfully sponsoring House Bill 1074, which will raise the smoking age in Washington to 21 beginning next year. 

According to a press release sent out by the House Republicans, Harris received the National Distinguished Advocacy Award from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network at a luncheon last week in Seattle. 

Washington became the 11th state to enact legislation raising the smoking age to 21. Since then, a total of 18 states have enacted “Tobacco 21” legislation, according to tobacco21.org. 

According to the press release, it took Harris five years to pass the Tobacco 21 bill. 

The idea behind Tobacco 21 is that raising the smoking age from 18 will limit adolescents from using their social networks to acquire tobacco. Research from Oregon, which enacted legislation last year, suggests it’s working

“I am truly honored and very appreciative to be recognized by such a great organization,” said Harris in a prepared statement. “I am always working to make a difference in the lives of our young people. We are heading in the right direction, but there is much more we can do to ensure our youth are healthy so they can thrive with a sound body and mind.”