California Governor Up Against Deadline To Act On Tobacco Restrictions

California Gov. Jerry Brown has until midnight tonight to decide whether to take action on a series of tobacco bills. The legislation would raise the legal smoking age to 21.

California would become the second state, after Hawaii, to increase the age limit for buying tobacco products, as The Two-Way has reported. There is an exemption for military personnel, The Associated Press reports, for whom the age limit would stay at 18.

When the state Senate passed the measures in March, we noted that the legislation also "regulates electronic cigarettes the same as tobacco products, expands smoke-free areas, increases smoking bans and allows counties to levy higher taxes on cigarettes than the 87-cent per pack state tax."

The package will automatically become law if Brown doesn't sign, veto or return it to the Legislature in time, the AP reports. It adds, "The Democratic governor has not commented on the package of tobacco proposals or signaled which way he'll go."

In a study that looked at tobacco use and age, the Institute of Medicine found: "Among adults who become daily smokers, approximately 90 percent report first use of cigarettes before reaching 19 years of age."

The March 2015 report, requested by the Food and Drug Administration, concluded that increasing the minimum legal age "will likely prevent or delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults."

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