Package of Bills To Reform Tobacco Rules Introduced in Calif.
The lawmakers were joined by the Save Lives California coalition to discuss the five bills.
Details of Bills
Collectively, the bills aim to:
- Curb tobacco use among young individuals;
- Expand access to care for low-income individuals;
- Regulate electronic cigarettes; and
- Save lives and money (Pan release, 4/8).
- SB 591, by state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), would add an additional $2 tax per pack of cigarettes to discourage Californians from smoking and to raise revenue to be used in anti-smoking efforts;
- SB 151, by state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), would raise the legal minimum smoking age in California from 18 to 21 in an effort to stem tobacco use among teenagers;
- SB 140, by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would restrict e-cigarette use in workplaces, restaurants and other public places and increase penalties for selling e-cigarettes to minors (Lauer, California Healthline, 3/12);
- AB 1396, by Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), seeks to reduce the burden of tobacco-related medical expenses for taxpayers by diverting tobacco tax revenues to Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, in an effort to improve beneficiaries' health (Pan release, 4/8); and
- AB 768, by Assembly member Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), would prohibit the use of all tobacco products -- including chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes -- at baseball venues in California to protect the health of players and to set an example for children (California Healthline, 3/12).
According to a release, SB 140 and SB 151 were both heard by the state Senate Health Committee on Wednesday.
Laura Tyrell, an American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network volunteer ambassador, said, "The effort of the Save Lives Coalition and the authors of the legislation here today are tremendous." She added, "Each of these bills hits on a different piece of the comprehensive approach necessary to reduce the burden of tobacco and improving the health of not just individuals but our communities" (Pan release, 4/8).
Meanwhile, Stefan Vidak, a Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association spokesperson, said he disagreed with Leno about e-cigarettes being marketed to minors. He said, "I don't see the problem," noting that there are other flavored products out there, such as alcoholic beverages (KFBK News, 4/8).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.