California Just Raised the Legal Smoking Age From 18 to 21

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

California dealt a major blow to the tobacco industry Wednesday, passing a series of laws, including one that raised the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, CNN reported.

"[These laws] will save countless lives, reduce astronomical costs to the health care system, and cost very little because it uses existing enforcement mechanisms," State Senator Ed Hernandez, one of the bill's authors, told CNN. "Today was an enormous victory for not only this generation, but also for many generations to come who will not suffer the deadly impacts of tobacco."

Read more: Here's How Smoking Weed Will Affect Your Sleep

The laws also target the sale of e-cigarettes but make an exception for active duty military service members, addressing the popular argument that citizens willing to fight and die for their country should be free to purchase tobacco.

Source: Giphy

The legislation drew a range of responses.

"It is long past due for California to update our approach to tobacco, and with the governor's signature on these life-saving bills, we have done just that," Steven Larson, president of the California Medical Association, told the Los Angeles Times. 

Meanwhile, the tobacco industry has pointed to a number of potential steps to fight the new measures, including forcing the issue into statewide referendum, according to the Los Angeles Times.

An Institute of Medicine study from March 2015 projected that should all states make 21 the legal smoking age, there would be "approximately 223,000 fewer premature deaths, 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost for those born between 2000 and 2019."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Jon Levine

Jon Levine is a staff writer at Mic, covering politics and people. He is based in New York and can be reached at JLevine@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.