Sacramento, CA – You may soon have to be 21 to take a puff on a cigarette in California if the Chair of the Senate Health Committee gets his way.
State Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) has introduced SB151 that hikes the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. “Tobacco companies know that people are more likely to become addicted to smoking if they start at a young age,” says Hernandez. “We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines while big tobacco markets to our kids and gets another generation of young people hooked on a product that will ultimately kill them.”
SB151, if passed, would make California the first state in the country to raise the minimum smoking age to 21. Hernandez’s Office admits it may be a tough fight as similar proposals have failed to pass in New Jersey, Utah, Colorado, and Maryland.
The American Lung Association in California says 36,000 kids in the state start smoking each year and nine in ten smokers are hooked by the age of 18. As previously reported, another state senator has called for stricter rules on e-cigs calling for a ban on vaping in public areas, like restaurants and hospitals.