Update at 12:15pm: This morning the California Senate voted in favor of increasing the smoking age to 21. It was part of a package of six bills anti-tobacco bills that has now passed both houses of the legislature. Governor Jerry Brown will have the final decision on whether to sign or veto the legislation.
Original story posted at 7:43am: Sacramento, CA — The California Senate will vote today on a package of anti-tobacco bills, including one that would increase the smoking age to 21.
Hawaii is currently the only to state with the age 21 requirement. Proponents of the idea note that most smokers start before age 18, and increasing the smoking age would make it more difficult to obtain cigarettes. The proposal was earlier approved in the Assembly.
The Associated Press reports the Republican Assembly leader Chad Hayes spoke out against the idea. He questioned why it is ok for an 18 year-old to be locked up in prison for life for committing a felony, but an 18-year-old would not be able to buy cigarettes.
A late amendment to the bill, added by Democrats, would allow members of the military to continue to buy cigarettes at age 18.
Another bill, up for vote in the Senate today, would put the same restrictions on e-cigarettes that are currently placed on other tobacco products.
Governor Jerry Brown has not yet weighed in on the pending tobacco bills.