California has passed legislation raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. The legislation is part of a larger series of anti-smoking measures banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age. In addition, electronic cigarettes will face regulations not unlike those imposed on traditional cigarettes and will be prohibited wherever traditional smoking is banned. Companies that violate the law will face a $5,000 fine.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation into law on Wednesday. As part of the initiative, California will also allow extra funding for anti-smoking programs. California is only the second state to raise their smoking age; Hawaii raised their smoking age on January 1.
The new legislation follows a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics issued in October which encouraged states to raise the legal smoking age and impose stricter regulations on e-cigarettes. According to a study from the Institute of Medicine, raising the legal smoking age to 21 nationwide would result in roughly a quarter million fewer premature deaths and 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer for those born between 2000 and 2019.
Senator Ed Hernandez authored the bill. “[These laws] will save countless lives, reduce astronomical costs to the health care system, and cost very little because it uses existing enforcement mechanisms,” he said. “Today was an enormous victory for not only this
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