On Thursday, Senator Ed Hernandez has proposed a bill on raising the minimum smoking age in California, from 18 to 21. If the bill passes, California will rank in the top with the highest minimum smoking age in all the US.
Hernandez has announced this Friday that the bill is supported by studies which show that starting to smoke at an early age will most likely lead to addiction. The tobacco companies are aware of this, and they are already opposing the bill. In the same statement, the senator stressed the importance of stopping these very tobacco companies who target the public of all ages, including kids, and put an end to another generation getting hooked up on the nasty habit of smoking.
Senate Bill 151 is trying to increase the legal smoking age in an effort to reduce the habit of smoking among children, teenagers and young adults. A survey conducted by the American Lung Association reports that 36, 000 kids are taking up smoking in California each year, and nine out of ten of all smokers in the state have started the habit before they reached the age of 18.
Even though Senate Bill 151 hasn’t been approved or denied until the present moment, it is worth noting that similar bills were not approved in several other states, such as Maryland, Colorado, New Jersey and Utah. But if the proposal passes, it would make California the first state to reach the age of 21 as the minimum smoking age.
The bill is not concerned only with the allowing the sale of tobacco products above the age of 21, but also requests authorization for official state health agents to be able to perform random inspections of tobacco distributors, making sure that the legislation is being obeyed. Another aspect covered by the proposed bill is prohibiting tobacco product advertisement aimed at people under the age of 21.
Cigarette smoking has ranked number one in causing preventable death in the U.S., reaping a striking number of over 480,000 deaths per year, as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The unhealthy habit causes deadly diseases, such as lung cancer, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Even though most of the U.S. states have established that the legal smoking age is 18 years old, or, in some cases, 19, there are also some cities, among which we count New York City, which have also approved the minimum smoking age to be 21 years old.
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