Tobacco 21 Legislation Moves to Governor’s Desk for Signature

March 10, 2016

March 10, 2016
Contact: Janet Chin (626)430-2499

Bill seeks to substantially reduce youth access to tobacco

(Sacramento, CA) – SBX2 7, authored by Senator Ed Hernandez, O.D., which would increase the tobacco purchase age to 21, cleared its final legislative hurdle on Thursday morning, passing off of the Senate Floor with a vote of 26 to 10. The bill now moves to the Governor for signature.  

“This is California’s chance to make history by drastically reducing Big Tobacco’s ability to target and poison our youth. We will no longer stand idly by while they continue to get generation after generation addicted,” said Senator Hernandez, “We need to make this happen for the sake of our children and the overall health of our state.” 

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with as many as 34,000 Californians dying annually. A 2015 Institute of Medicine study estimated that increasing the tobacco purchase age to 21 will result in 200,000 fewer premature deaths for those born between 2000 and 2019. Additionally, tobacco use results in approximately $3.5 billion in direct costs to the Medi-Cal system annually.

“This bill saves lives, saves billions of dollars, and will cost virtually nothing to implement,” said Senator Hernandez. “The fierce opposition from Big Tobacco on this measure proves just how important this measure is and how much their business model relies on selling their drug to our kids.”

This bill is supported by the Save Lives California Coalition, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, the California Medical Association, the California Dental Association, other major health organizations, parents and community leaders statewide. 

More than 130 local municipalities across the United States have raised the legal tobacco age to 21. With a Governor’s signature California would become the second state to raise the age to 21.