Youth testimony in support of SB 5129, which decriminalizes youth possession of tobacco products
At the January 21, 2021 Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee, Tuyet-Nhi Vo testified in support of a SB 5129, a bill that would decriminalize youth possession of tobacco products. SB 5129 prevents law enforcement from detaining, ID’ing, and questioning youth they suspect having tobacco products.
Vo has been a part of the APICAT Youth Advisory Group since 2017.
“I support SB 5129, which eliminates penalties for youth under the age of 18. Youth should not be penalized for being addicted to products that the tobacco and vape industries have aggressively marketed towards us,” Vo said. “There is no proven data that shows penalties are more successful in helping youth quit. It’s uncommon for youth to have a state issued ID and I myself didn’t get one until I was 17. Even then, I didn’t start carrying it around until I had turned 18. We need prevention resources in support to prevent early initiation of nicotine and vapor products. I believe that law enforcement time and resources would be better spent stopping retailers from selling to minors and enforcing laws that protect, not harm, youth.”
In January, Healthy King County Coalition released a statement which said SB 5129 is an equitable approach to commercial tobacco control by preventing law enforcement the ability to detain, ID, and question a youth suspected of possession or attempt to purchase commercial tobacco or vapor products, a practice that disproportionately impacts youth of color and LGBTQ youth.
Visit www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2021011353 to view the full testimony at the 48 minute mark.