Senate in California, USA, passed a legislation which increases the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. This decision is going to make California one of the US states with the highest smoking age.
The legislation was approved with 26 Senate members votes for and 8 votes against. After that is was sent to state Assembly for approval.
The author of the legislation is Senator Ed Hernandez, who told that they will not sit and just watch how tobacco companies sell tobacco products to young people. Tobacco industry tries to attract youth with fruit tastes and colorful packs, and generally targets teens to grow new generation of smokers. It is a well known fact that the earlier man starts smoking the easier he becomes addicted to nicotine. Hernandez pointed out this fact when proposed to raise smoking age.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the branch of the National Academy of Sciences, raising the legal smoking age to 21 would help to prevent thousands of young people from smoking-related diseases.
The Cigar Association of America showed the opposition to the legislation. Their argument was the fact that people at 18 may serve the army and participate on voting but would be banned from smoking cigarettes. It is their right to do what they want.
David Sutton, the representative of Altria Group Inc, the parent of Philip Morris USA, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, told that first of all Congress and FDA should say their word about the raising smoking age.
Representatives for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, a unit of Reynolds American Inc, did not share their comments on the issue.
It should be said that Hawaii approved last month similar measure. In 2013, New Yourk City increased smoking age to 21.