News & Politics

California Raises Legal Age to Purchase Tobacco to 21

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California Governor Jerry Brown approved legislation that would raise the legal age to buy tobacco for smoking and vaping to 21. The new law will take effect on June 9.

The governor’s office declined to comment on why he signed the new law. “The action speaks for itself,” Brown spokeswoman Deborah Hoffman said.

Supporters of the age limit say it will deter young people from nicotine addiction.

“By increasing the tobacco age to 21, the nation’s largest state provides incredible momentum to similar efforts nationwide,” Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement.

But the restrictions on vaping seem to serve little purpose since vaping does not involve tobacco at all.

The vaping industry has portrayed its products as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco, and one industry group, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, released a statement calling the governor’s move “a step backwards.” It penalizes smokers who are trying to quit through using vapor products, the statement said.

Gregory Conley, president of American Vaping Association, said:  “The bill is sending the deadly message to smokers that vapor products are just another form of tobacco.”

Opponents of the bill said that people who are old enough to die for their country should be legally allowed to use tobacco.  The bill stalled for six months until the an agreement was reached to allow an 18-year-old tobacco age for military personnel.

Anti-tobacco groups have more attacks on their agenda. “Anti-tobacco groups are collecting signatures to raise cigarette taxes from $0.87 per pack to $2. They notified state officials in February that they’ve collected at least 25 percent of the 535,407 signatures they’ll need to place the question on the November ballot.”