By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS
California has become the second state, after Hawaii, to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21 under legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
In addition to making it illegal to sell cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products to anyone under 21, Brown signed additional bills that add e-cigarettes to tobacco regulations, close loopholes in the smoke-free workplace law to reduce secondhand smoke, and require all schools to be tobacco-free.
Nearly nine out of 10 smokers started by age 18, according to the Surgeon General’s 2012 report on youth and smoking. Although traditional cigarette use has dropped among youth in recent years, the rate of any tobacco product use among teens remains alarmingly high.
According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if current smoking trends continue, 5.6 million Americans who are currently under 18 are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related diseases.
Outside of California and Hawaii, the current minimum age for tobacco sales is 18, except in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah, where the minimum age is 19. More than 100 counties and cities nationwide, including New York City and Chicago, have made their tobacco purchasing age 21.