California Assembly votes to raise smoking age and regulate e-cigarettes
The state Assembly in Sacramento California approved a package of tobacco-control bills that would regulate the manufacture and sale of electronic cigarettes and make California the nation’s second state to increase the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. The lawmakers also approved bills that would allow counties to enact local cigarette taxes, close loopholes in existing smoke-free workplace laws and require that all K-12 schools be tobacco-free. [San Jose Mercury News]
Despite the fact that teens continue to start smoking at a young age, supporters of the California tobacco legislation said that upping the smoking age to 21 will discourage the use of cigarettes among youths and over time will reduce deaths. The bill did contain an amendment exempting active-duty members of the military.
While California already limits sales of e-cigarettes to adults, a report released last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014. Supporters of the California bill claims that regulating e-cigs manufacture and sale as tobacco products should help reverse this trend. I’m not so sure that claim will hold true, it only gives the already out-of-control California legislature more control over it’s citizens and new pathways for increasing the tax burden on them.
A new study from Cornell University said that raising the vaping age has actually led to an increase in teen smoking. In the study that appeared in the Preventative Medicine, the Weill Cornell Medicine investigators have discovered an 11.7% rise in teen cigarette use following the introduction of new age restrictions for e-cigarettes by states between 2007 and 2013. [New Hampshire Voice]