California

Clearing the air on California’s new tobacco, e-cigarette law

In this July 17, 2015 photo, store manager Stephanie Hunt lights a Marlboro cigarette while posing for photos at a Smoker Friendly shop in Pittsburgh.
In this July 17, 2015 photo, store manager Stephanie Hunt lights a Marlboro cigarette while posing for photos at a Smoker Friendly shop in Pittsburgh. AP

Beginning Thursday, June 9, smokers have to be at least 21 to buy tobacco products in California, which joins Hawaii and more than 100 municipalities in raising the legal smoking age from 18.

Anyone who sells or gives tobacco to people under 21 could be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime. How do California's new tobacco laws affect you? This video tells you.

Surveys have found that the vast majority of daily smokers begin using tobacco before age 19. Last year, the Institute of Medicine estimated that increasing the smoking age to 21 would discourage 15 percent of young adults from taking up smoking.

That could save lives, writes Vox's German Lopez.

Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, authored the bill. When the California legislation was approved, Hernandez said: “The last several months have proven just how much tobacco’s model depends on their ability to market and sell their poison to kids. It is time we take a stand.

Much of the California Assembly's debate over raising the smoking age to 21 focused on how it compared with the drinking age. Here’s a glance at the debate.

Vaping comes under law

The smoking age requirement was part of a package of tobacco-related legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that also regulates e-cigarettes. Vaporizers, vape liquid and other electronic smoking paraphernalia are now treated as tobacco products under the law. Like cigarette smoking, e-cigarettes are banned in many public spaces including workplaces, restaurants and movie theaters.

In this video, pro-vaping advocate David Hansen, who has testified against the vaping legislation, argues that lawmakers are looking to tax the industry and put small store owners like himself out of business.

An illustrative look at tobacco use and smoking

State-by-state tobacco smoking rates:

E-cigarette use by age in the U.S.:

State-by-state tobacco smoking rates:

Percent of adults who smoke cigarettes in California:

Our view

The Sacramento Bee’s opinion pages have tackled the issue.

E-cit, tobacco-age laws are good intentions gone awry

Smoking age, e-cigarette measures will save lives

Editorial: Jerry Brown signs tobacco control bills, lets us breathe easier

Some reaction, your reaction

Do you support the new tobacco law? Comment on our Facebook page to let readers know how you feel. Here’s some social media reaction.

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