California lawmakers near vote on raising smoking age to 21

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's Senate is poised to vote on a sweeping package of anti-smoking measures_including raising the smoking age to 21— as lawmakers try to crack down on tobacco use and the health problems that flow from it.

If the Senate approves Thursday and Gov. Jerry Brown signs off, California would become the second state to move the age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21. Electronic cigarettes would also face the same restrictions as tobacco products, and smoke-free zones would expand to more workplaces and schools.

The American Cancer Society says the six bills represent California's most substantial anti-tobacco push in nearly two decades. But advocates couldn't garner enough support to raise cigarette taxes, which requires a two-thirds supermajority. The Cancer Society and other groups are seeking to qualify an initiative for the 2016 ballot.