California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Wednesday that raises the state’s legal smoking age to 21, and restricts the use of e-cigarettes — “vaping” — in public places.
Although California is not the first state to raise the smoking age — Hawaii did so in April — the bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa), predicted that many others would follow California’s example. “It’s going to send a shockwave across the country,” he told Southern California Public Radio.
He added that while those under 21 could still “sneak” cigarettes, they would not be able to buy cigarettes themselves.
Hernandez’s bill, SBX2-7, was one of five smoking bills that Brown signed Wednesday. He also signed ABX2-7, introduced by Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley), which expands restrictions on smoking in the workplace; ABX2-9, introduced by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), which expands tobacco prevention programs to charter schools; ABX2-11, introduced by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks), which imposes new license fees on cigarette sales; and SBX2-5, introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), which bans “vaping” in certain public spaces.
Brown vetoed a sixth bill, ABX2-10, introduced by Assemblymember Richard H. Bloom (D-Santa Monica), which would have allowed local authorities to raise their own taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products. The governor explained that while California has relatively low cigarette taxes, “I am reluctant to approve this measure in view of all the taxes being proposed for the 2016 ballot.”
The new smoking age will be effective June 9.
California’s congressional delegation includes one of the country’s most visible “vaping” enthusiasts, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) of San Diego, who recently smoked an e-cigarette during a congressional hearing.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.