California Bills Would Raise Smoking Age to 21, Treat E-Cigarettes Like Tobacco

    The California Senate will consider a package of anti-smoking measures Thursday that would raise the smoking age to 21 and classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products, the Associated Press reports.

    If the measures are approved by the Senate and signed by Governor Jerry Brown, California would become the second state, after Hawaii, to increase the legal age for purchasing cigarettes from 18 to 21.

    Advocates for the measures could not gather enough support to include a cigarette tax increase, the article notes. Groups including the American Cancer Society are seeking to qualify a cigarette tax initiative for the November 2016 ballot. The initiative would raise the cigarette tax from $0.87 to $2 a pack.

    The package of six bills are likely to pass the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, according to the AP. Many Republicans oppose the bills because they say the measures interfere with people’s personal decisions—even if they are harmful to health. Tobacco interests have lobbied intensively against the measures.

    Earlier this month, San Francisco supervisors voted to raise the tobacco-purchase age to 21. According to the advocacy group Tobacco 21, 121 cities in nine states outside of Hawaii have increased the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21.

    The measure that classifies e-cigarettes as tobacco products subjects them to the same restrictions on who can buy them and where they can be used. Another measure would expand smoke-free areas to include bars, small businesses, workplace break rooms, warehouses, meeting rooms and hotel lobbies.

    By Partnership Staff
    March 2016


    March 2016

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