California legislature passes groundbreaking tobacco regulations

March 03, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health 

The state legislature today approved a package of groundbreaking tobacco control bills that would increase the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 and regulate the manufacture and sale of electronic cigarettes for the first time. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bills into law.

The California Medical Association (CMA) is proud to stand with the Save Lives California coalition in thanking Speaker Toni Atkins and Speaker-Elect Anthony Rendon for their tremendous leadership.  Bills passed include the following:

  • SB 5 X2 by Senator Mark Leno will classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products. This will make them subject to smoke-free laws, age restrictions and other rules governing tobacco products.
  • SB 7 X2 by Senator Ed Hernandez will raise the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.
  • AB 7 X2 by Assemblymember Mark Stone will close loopholes in the state’s smoke free workplace laws.
  • AB 9 X2 by Assemblymembers Tony Thurmond and Adrin Nazarian will require all schools to be tobacco free.
  • AB 10 X2 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom will allow county boards of supervisors to put tobacco taxes up for local votes.
  • AB 11 X2 by Assemblymember Nazarian will establish a tobacco licensing fee program under the state Board of Equalization. 

“On behalf of physicians across the state, we are thrilled to see these bills move forward,” said Steve Larson, M.D., MPH, president of CMA. “We know for a fact that these important pieces of legislation will save lives and help reduce teen smoking and smoking-related illnesses that I see so much of in my patients.”

CMA is also part of the Save Lives California coalition, which is advocating for a ballot measure that will raise California’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack. California’s tax hasn’t been raised since 1998 and ranks in the bottom third of U.S. states. The coalition to pass the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016  also includes health advocates such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and philanthropist Tom Steyer.

The money raised by the tax will fund health care costs and research into cures for cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.


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