The smoking age has been raised from 18 to 21 in California. It is the second state in the United States to pass such legislation. The first was Hawaii. State senator Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa claims that the law aims to keep the cigarettes out of the reach of teenagers. The law was proposed during May of 2016 and went into effect this Thursday.
“Tobacco companies know that people are more likely to become addicted to smoking if they start at a young age. 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.” Hernandez stated.
The campaign supporters say that banning smoking at an early age can prevent the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.
“National data show that 95% of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21,” the group wrote. “The ages of 18 to 21 are also a critical period when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use. While less than half of adult smokers become daily smokers before age 18, four out of five do so before they turn 21.”
Hawaii has passed the raising the smoking age earlier this year.
“In Hawaii, about one in four students in high school try their first cigarette each year, and one in three who get hooked will die prematurely,” said Lola Irvin, administrator with the chronic disease prevention and health promotion division of the Hawaii Department of Health.
This law has an exception, in California. After quite a few rebuttals against the legislation, Hernandez changed the bill. People of 18 years old are not subject to this law if they are in active military service.
Steven Larson, President of CMA said stated “It is long past due for California to update our approach to tobacco, and with the governor’s signature on these life-saving bills, we have done just that.”
The efforts to pass the law have been opposed by the tobacco companies. Nevertheless, the state has argued that the lives of Californians are far more important than the business industry, which already has more than enough consumers. People who will violate the law by selling tobacco to people under 21 years old will be fined starting from 200$ or face misdemeanor charges.
On the other hand, people say that this law is unlikely to serve its ultimate cause. Because teens nowadays can easily find cigarettes, if they desire.
Will the new smoking law be good for Californians?
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