SACRAMENTO — California will raise the smoking age to 21 as part of a group of anti-tobacco bills that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law.
State Sen. Ed Hernandez, a Democrat from West Covina, Calif., proposed the measure that will take effect in June.
“Think about the future generations that we’re going to have that aren’t going to be addicted, that aren’t going to have health consequences from it,” Hernandez said after Brown signed the bill Wednesday.
The U.S. would have 223,000 fewer premature deaths if the smoking age were 21 nationwide, according to an Institute of Medicine report released last year.
Brown also signed legislation to regulate e-cigarettes the same way the state regulates tobacco products, a move that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration similarly adopted Thursday.
“These products contain nicotine, and our kids are getting addicted to nicotine and are turning to all the other tobacco products,” said Lindsey Freitas, policy manager of the American Lung Association in Calfornia's Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing.
E-cigarettes no longer can be marketed to minors and cannot be used in places where smoking has been banned, such as restaurants and bars.
A spokesman from tobacco conglomerate Altria Group (MO), parent of Philip Morris USA and other companies with tobacco products, declined to comment on the new laws.
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