With continuous efforts to stop teens from smoking cigarettes, many states are considering to raise the state smoking age from 18 to 21. To try to decrease the number of smokers within more recent years, cigarettes taxes have also taken in effect. Cigarettes are taxed at federal, state and local levels but more drastic measures are now looking to take place.
To prevent the use of tobacco-based products legislation in California is seriously considering raising the legal age of smoking from 18 to 21. The LA Times writes, “Smoking contributes to the deaths of more than 40,000 Californians each year, according to Kimberly Amazeen, vice president for the American Lung Assn. in California. She said 21,300 California kids start smoking each year.”
By raising the legal age to smoke, California is hoping to reduce the number of teen smokers and with that reduce the number of disease that is caused by smoking.
Senator Ed Hernandez in a statement said, “We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines while big tobacco markets to our kids and gets another generation of young people hooked on a product that will ultimately kill them.”
Another California senator, Mark Leno, is also looking to put major restrictions on electronic cigarettes. Although not a true tobacco product, Leno is working on a bill that would prohibit e-cigarettes from bars, restaurants, hospitals, among others. E-cigarettes still deliver nicotine to the smoker and Leno wants to banish all relics of smoking culture.
E-cigarettes are untaxed and can be openly smoked in public. California’s Smoke Free Act was just commenced in 2011 when e-ciggarettes were not popularized yet and that is what Senator Leno is hoping to change.MTV’s campaign “The Generation That Ends Smoking” is featured on their channel, Spotify and Pandora in hopes that teenagers and young adults will quit smoking altogether. It raises awareness on health issues, big tobacco companies, facts and gives statistics.
While we do not know if e-cigarettes will eventually be banned or we will be the generation to stop smoking, other states that have attempted to raise the age of smoking in the past are Rhode Island, Iowa, New Jersey, Colorado and Maryland.