The California state Senate voted on Tuesday to approve a bill raising the minimum legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21.
Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) introduced State Bill 151 as part of an effort to reduce smoking by young people after learning an estimated 90% of tobacco users start using the products prior to reaching the age of 21.
Citing a study by The Institute of Medicine concluding that raising the smoking age would cut smoking by 12% more than existing policies, Hernandez stated that “It’s time to stop allowing tobacco companies to make the deadly product so readily available to our youth.”
The LA Times reports that supporters of the bill include:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the California Medical Assn. Opponents include the California Retailers Assn., the Cigar Assn. of America and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.
The bill was passed by the Senate by a vote of 26 to 8 and now heads to the State Assembly.
California could be one of the first states in the nation to increase the smoking age to 21 if the measure is signed into law.