California raises smoking age to 21
May 5, 2016
The legal smoking age in California is increasing from 18 to 21 following Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to sign a package of bills into law on Wednesday. The same goes for the legal vaping age, as e-cigarettes will now be regulated like traditional cigarettes. [Sac Bee]
California joins Hawaii as the only two states to prohibit the sale of tobacco to everyone under the age of 21. The new vaporizing regulations will prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in public and in other places where smoking is prohibited.
Other bills Brown signed into law will ban smoking in hotel lobbies and bars; warehouse facilities; and the offices of self-employed workers who bring clients into their workplace. Brown also signed a bill that will increase the licensing fees for selling and distributing tobacco products.
The governor vetoed one bill in the package of smoking regulations. That bill would have allowed cities and counties to impose taxes on tobacco products. Brown said in a signing statement he was reluctant to approve the measure because of all the taxes being proposed on the 2016 ballot.
Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa), who authored the smoking age bill, said his measure would save lives and health care costs by eliminating easy access to tobacco during the teenage years.
Opponents of raising the smoking age say the new law will encourage illegal cigarette sales. Advocates of e-cigarette use say the state of California is penalizing smokers who are trying to quit by switching to vaping.
Most of the bills Brown signed, including the new smoking age law and the e-cigarette regulations, will take effect on June 9. The increase in licensing fees will take effect in 2017.