According to multiple media outlets, the California State Senate has just approved a package of legislation that will raise the statewide age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. To become law, Governor Jerry Brown must sign the legislation.
If passed, California would become only the second state to push the age to buy tobacco products to 21, after Hawaii in 2015. Dozens of cities across the US, including New York and San Francisco, have passed their own laws, but only Hawaii has passed the law statewide.
The legislation would also apply regulations to electronic cigarettes, treating them as tobacco products and restricting their purchase to individuals 21 and older.
“We can prevent countless California youth from becoming addicted to this deadly drug, save billions of dollars in direct healthcare costs and, most importantly, save lives,” Democratic Senator Ed Hernandez, author of the bill, told ABC News.
The legislation passed the state Assembly last week, despite intense lobbying by Big Tobacco and contentious debate by state Republicans, who attempted to block the measures from being heard, according to The Sacramento Bee.