California Raising Smoking Age to 21
The New York Times
By Adam Nagourney
California will become the second state in the nation to raise the smoking age to 21 and will begin regulating electronic cigarettes like other tobacco products under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday.
Mr. Brown, a Democrat, signed both bills without comment hours before the deadline to act. He vetoed a bill that would permit local governments to impose taxes on tobacco products.
The tobacco legislation was passed overwhelmingly by the Democratic-controlled Legislature over objections from the tobacco industry. Backers of the legislation said it would accelerate similar efforts in other parts of the country.
One of the bills raised the legal age for buying tobacco — for smoking, vaping or chewing — from 18 to 21. Hawaii is the only other state that has raised the age for smoking. The California bill includes an exemption for active members of the military between the ages of 18 and 21.
A second bill would place the same regulations on electronic cigarettes, including licensing sales, as are now imposed on other tobacco products. “The tobacco bills the governor signed will reduce the toll smoking takes on the health of Californians and the health of our state budget,” said Anthony Rendon, the Democratic speaker of the Assembly.
Tom Steyer, a leader of the Save Lives Campaign, which had lobbied for the bill, hailed Mr. Brown’s decision.