To reduce the rate of smoking, a new bill has been introduced in California for increasing the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. California Senator Ed Hernandez has introduced the bill, known as SB 151, which is going through legislature and if it is passed, California would be the first state to raise the smoking age to 21.
The bill has been supported by the California Medical Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association but the bill is expecting strong opposition from the tobacco industry. Ed Hernandez has stated “Tobacco companies know that people are more likely to become addicted to smoking if they start at a young age. We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines while Big Tobacco markets to our kids and gets another generation of young people hooked on a product that will ultimately kill them.”
Kimberly Amazeen, vice president of the ALA in California, has informed that smoking claims over 40,000 lives in California every year and each year about 21,300 kids in the state start smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. California has been greatly supporting the anti-tobacco legislation and since San Luis Obispo became the first city in the world to ban public indoor smoking in 1990, California is considered as the pioneer of smoking bans. By 1998, almost all enclosed workplaces in the state encountered ban on smoking.