Provision To Raise State’s Legal Smoking Age from 18 to 21 ‘Seems Drastic,’ Mercury News Says
A provision in an anti-smoking bill (AB 1453) that would raise the state's legal smoking age from 18 to 21 "seems drastic," but raising the legal age to 19 would "make it tougher for younger kids to find suppliers," according to a San Jose Mercury News editorial. The legislation, sponsored by Assembly member Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood), would ban the sale of tobacco products to individuals younger than age 21 (San Jose Mercury News, 7/18). The bill would exempt individuals born before 1985 and would not affect those between ages 18 and 21 this year. In addition to the smoking age provision, the bill would ban ashtrays in areas that prohibit smoking and require them in designated smoking areas. The legislation also would restrict the distribution of free tobacco products (California Healthline, 6/28). Although the smoking age provision "could reduce adult smoking substantially," the editorial points out that "18-year-olds are considered mature enough to vote, sign legal documents, get married and serve in the armed forces. They should be mature enough to understand the dangers of tobacco." However, the editorial advocates raising the state's smoking age to 19 to help "keep tobacco out of high schools," where older students can purchase cigarettes for younger classmates. In addition, the state should consider a proposal to increase the price of cigarettes, which "would do a lot to keep kids from picking up a deadly habit," the editorial concludes (San Jose Mercury News, 7/18).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.