September 04, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health
Six bills aimed at reducing the harmful impacts of tobacco use have passed the California Senate with overwhelming support.
The package of bills includes measures that will increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21, regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco products and ensure that schools and workplaces are smoke-free.
“We are one step closer to saving the lives of thousands of young Californians,” Eric Batch, vice president of advocacy with the American Heart Association, said in a statement. “If they become law, these reforms will pay dividends for decades into the future, helping prevent young people from picking up this deadly habit and reducing our state’s healthcare burden.”
Another tobacco-fighting initiative was added to the special session agenda on Aug. 26 — one that would raise California’s tobacco tax by $2 per pack. That proposal is being strongly supported by the Save Lives California coalition, which is comprised of the American Heart Association, California Medical Association and several other health and labor organizations.
California currently has one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the nation with a tax of 87 cents per pack, ranking 35th among other states. Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the country, killing 480,000 Americans each year.