U.S. News


California Joins Hawaii In Raising The Smoking Age To 21

California joins Hawaii as the second state to require most tobacco buyers to be at least 21 years old instead of 18.
Posted at 10:00 AM, May 05, 2016

California will soon require most tobacco buyers to be at least 21 years old, an effort aimed at reducing teenage tobacco use.

On Wednesday, California joined Hawaii as the second state to up the smoking age from 18. It follows a push by several cities in California — like San Francisco and Berkeley — which raised the smoking age earlier this year.

The new laws, which include electronic cigarettes, go into effect June 9. Advocating legislators have called it "the most expansive tobacco control package passed in decades."

But many critics aren't happy about the decision to include e-cigarettes. The Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association says the higher age requirement is a "step backwards" and "will negatively impact California small business."

After pushback from opponents, an amendment was added to the bills that exempts military personnel from the new laws.

The law's author, a California senator, said the approval is "a signal that California presents a united front against Big Tobacco. Together, we stand to disrupt the chain of adolescent addiction."

As for "Big Tobacco," companies like Altria said the decision to bump the tobacco age should be up to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not individual states or cities.

This video includes clips from California Senate Majority CaucusU.S. ArmyKBCWKHON and KERO and images from Nikita2706 / CC BY SA 3.0Autodesigner / CC BY 1.0micdew / CC BY SA 2.0 and Ecig Click / CC BY SA 2.0.