California to Raise Tobacco Buying Age to 21
California State Capitol wants to adopt a number of statewide anti-smoking laws. Four years ago former state Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger folded his cigar smoking tent on grounds of Capitol and now the sate makes a new step towards reduction of tobacco use.
At the beginning, there will be adopted a bill increasing a legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Legislators talk about concerns about public and kids health, health costs, and adult responsability.
Ed Hernandez, state Senator, is the author of the bill called Senate Bill 151, which expands Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act (STAKE).
The existing anti-smoking law bans posession and purchase of cigarettes and tobacco products by people under 18.
However, the proposed extension of the law says:
“A person is prohibited from making various promotional or advertising offers of smokeless tobacco products without taking actions to ensure that the product is not available to persons under 18 years of age. Existing law also requires the State Department of Public Health to conduct random, onsite sting inspections of tobacco product retailers with the assistance of persons under 18 years of age.”
It increases to 21 the buying age and imposes that State Department of Public Health may make random compliance inspections of retailers. The major purpose of the bill is to prevent kids from becoming addicted to cigarettes at an early age.
According to California branch of the American Lung Association, 90% of smokers begin before they turn 19.
However, the opposers claim that if people can make military and vote at age of 18, it seems nonsense that they cannot buy cigarettes. Opposers agree with 21 as legal age, because drinking is more harmful than smoking.
Health experts say the law is needed, because annually 21,300 California kids start smoking.
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