California Lawmakers Consider Raising Smoking Age To 21
The minimum legal age to buy tobacco in California and most other states is 18.
A bill under consideration in the California Legislature's special session would raise the age to 21.
The measure is part of a package of six anti-tobacco bills that lawmakers must decide on.
Lindsey Freitas, the American Lung Association's California director of tobacco control, said raising the smoking age to 21 would dissuade many young people from picking up the habit.
“National data shows 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21," Freitas said. "And the ages of 18 to 21 are critical, because it’s when many smokers move from experimental to regular daily use.”
But opponents argue that if a person can vote or join the military at 18, they should be allowed to decide whether or not to smoke.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 21,300 California teenagers start smoking each year.
On June 19, 2015, Hawaii became the first state to prohibit people under 21 from purchasing tobacco products.