On May 4th, Governor Jerry Brown signed a number of bills that would increase the smoking age from 18 to 21, further regulate the use of e-cigarettes in public areas, and expand smoke free areas in public schools.
This bill will become effective by June 9th while other bills won’t take effect until January 1st of 2017. California is now the second state to raise the smoking age, the first being Hawaii.
“I think it’s just another limitation on the youth,” said college student, Tate Davis. “They say we are adults by the age of 18- we can vote and we are legally no longer minors- yet we can’t drink and now can’t smoke. However you can enlist and serve in the military at 18. To me it seems like a double standard for this generation.”
One of the bills bans the use of electronic cigarettes in theaters, restaurants, and other public areas. The bill is also said to prohibit the marketing of e-cigarettes to minors.
This comes after the increase of minors using e-cigarettes instead of traditional cigarettes. Currently, it is stated by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention that more minors smoke e-cigarettes than traditional cigarettes.
There is an exception to this bill however- all military personnel under the age of 21 will still be able to purchase tobacco and tobacco products after the bill takes effect.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine came out with a report last year that stated if the smoking age rose there would be a 12% drop in the number of teen and adult smokers.
“The e-cigarette is nothing more than a new delivery system for toxic and addictive nicotine,” said the writer of the bill that regulates e-cigarettes, Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco. “Ensuring that e-cigarettes fall under California’s comprehensive smoke-free laws is critical to protecting public health, especially given the alarming rate at which young people are picking up these devices.”