California Just Raised The Smoking Age To 21

Photographed by Tayler Smith
California just took a major step to curb smoking among the next generation. On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown approved a bill that will make California the second state in the country to raise the smoking age, joining Hawaii as well as several cities including New York, San Francisco, and Boston. Under the law, persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from purchasing tobacco —with the exception of active military personnel. Service members will be able to buy cigarettes at 18 with a military identification card. According to CNN, this stipulation was added after some argued that if 18-year-olds can be drafted or volunteer for war, they should be able to buy tobacco products.
On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also announced its own crackdown on tobacco, in the form of a new regulation that bans the sale of e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco, and pipe tobacco to minors. "Before today, there was no federal law prohibiting retailers from selling [these products] to people under age 18," the FDA statement reads. The new regulations come after the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement in October urging states to raise the smoking age to 21 to protect children from the harmful effects of tobacco. Research shows that raising the legal age for smoking can delay and even prevent the initiation of this addictive habit.

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