California Smoking Age Raised to 21

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Beginning June 9, the smoking age in California will be raised from 18 to 21 — making it the second state in the nation to raise the age to 21, behind Hawaii. 

A set of bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown last Wednesday, May 4, solidified the new minimum age to purchase tobacco, and will also restrict the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and expand no-smoking areas at public schools.

The bills were backed by medical groups, including the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society and California Medical Association. Supporters noted that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., contributing to the deaths of as many as 34,000 Californians each year, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

A 2015 study conducted by the Institute of Medicine estimated that increasing the minimum tobacco purchase age to 21 will result in 200,000 fewer premature deaths for those born between 2000 and 2019.

Further legislation by the governor considers electronic cigarettes to be tobacco products, which now cannot be used in places where smoking is banned or marketed to minors.