California Raises Smoking and Vaping Ages to 21

Choice between cigarette and e-cigarette

During a special healthcare session earlier this month, Governor Brown signed into law significant tobacco regulations, raising the smoking age from 18 to 21 and classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products. The laws go into effect on June 9.

With the signing of this new law, California becomes the second state in the country, after Hawaii, to raise the legal smoking age in an effort to block young people’s access to tobacco.

A 2015 Institute of Medicine report concluded that if all states raised the smoking age to 21, there would be a 12 percent drop in teen and young adult smokers. Also, according to a March 2015 Institute of Medicine study, raising the smoking age to 21 would result in about 223,000 fewer premature deaths and 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer.

The Governor also signed a bill classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products, banning e-cigarette use in venues where traditional cigarettes are prohibited, such as schools, restaurants, hospitals, and workplaces. Just as with other tobacco products, you must be 21 years old to buy e-cigarettes.

In addition to these two laws, five related bills that will expand smoking restrictions in the workplace and in schools were signed. One measure that would have allowed cities and counties to impose local taxes on tobacco products was vetoed.

For more information about the new laws, visit the Governor’s website at www.gov.ca.gov.

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