California Healthline: Brown Signs Tobacco Package Raising Smoking Age To 21, Curbing E-Cigarette Use

May 5, 2016

The tobacco industry has threatened to fight the new laws at the ballot box in November.

The Wall Street Journal: California Governor Signs Bill Raising Tobacco-Purchase Age To 21
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed into law a bill raising the legal purchase age for cigarettes and other tobacco products to 21 years from 18. The new law, which takes effect June 9, is a big boost to a movement that is turning into the next major challenge to the $100 billion tobacco industry. It capped a difficult day for the tobacco industry. (Mickle and Lazo, 5/4)

Los Angeles Times: California's Smoking Age Raised From 18 To 21 Under Bills Signed By Gov. Brown
Brown did not comment on the other bills that he signed, but state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) said approval of his bill raising the smoking age will save lives. “The governor’s signature on Tobacco 21 is a signal that California presents a united front against Big Tobacco," Hernandez said in a statement. "Together, we stand to disrupt the chain of adolescent addiction." The package of bills was touted as the “most expansive” effort to control tobacco use in the state in more than a decade. The bills were backed by a coalition of medical groups including the American Heart Assn, American Lung Assn., American Cancer Society and the California Medical Assn. (McGreevy, 5/4)

Bay Area News Group: California Smoking Laws: E-Cigarette Regulation, Higher Age Limit Signed By Jerry Brown
But Brown vetoed the piece of legislation that reportedly scared tobacco companies the most -- Assembly Bill X2 10, authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica -- which would have allowed counties to enact local cigarette taxes. In his veto message, Brown wrote that endorsing new taxes on a "blanket basis" goes too far, especially as anti-tobacco activists inch closer to placing a $2-per-pack cigarette tax on the November ballot that the industry is expected to spend tens of millions of dollars to defeat. (Calefati, 5/4)

The San Francisco Chronicle: Brown Signs Bill To Raise Legal Smoking Age In California To 21
Republicans criticized many of the bills, saying the legislation, like the one to raise the smoking age to 21, only reinforces the perception of California as a “nanny state.” Tobacco representatives and their lobbyists could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But when the Legislature passed the six tobacco-control bills in March, tobacco lobbyists threatened to overturn the measures through a referendum and potentially derail other ballot measures, such as a criminal justice reform initiative the governor is fighting for. (Guttierez, 5/4)

The Associated Press: Clock Starts For Voters To Reject New California Tobacco Age
California has become the second state in the nation to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, starting the clock for opponents to ask voters for a reversal this November. Gov. Jerry Brown's signature on Wednesday means, beginning June 9, it will be a crime in California to sell or give tobacco to anyone except military personnel under age 21. He did not say why he signed the measure along with four others restricting tobacco use in various ways. (5/5)

Meanwhile, the FDA has passed sweeping regulations bringing e-cigarettes under federal authority. Read the coverage here.

This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.