Monday, Mar 21, 2016
Legislature Passes Historic Tobacco Controls to Save Lives, Protect Kids
California Speaker Atkins and Speaker-Elect Rendon show true leadership on vital issues of e-cigarettes and smoking age
The California Legislature approved two groundbreaking tobacco regulation bills that will save the lives of thousands of Californians. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign:
- SB 5 X2by 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.
The state Assembly also voted on a package of other tobacco legislation. These propose other lifesaving measures like closing loopholes in state smoke free workplace laws, allowing counties to put tobacco taxes before voters, and making all California schools tobacco free. The bills were approved on the last day of a special session on healthcare called by Gov. Brown. Each addresses a key means by which young people become addicted to tobacco. For instance:
- E-cigarettes. The percentage of American high school students using e-cigarettes tripled in just one year, from 4.5% in 2013 to 13.4% in 2014. These dangerous devices function as nicotine addiction starter kits and are associated with later smoking.
- Smoking age to 21. The vast majority of smokers start before the age of 21. This is why more than 100 cities around the country have raised their smoking age 21. California will now join Hawaii as the second state to make this important change.
In November, California voters will get their chance to weigh in on an initiative that will raise California's cigarette tax by $2 a pack and protect a new generation from addiction by including e-cigarettes containing tobacco in the state's tobacco tax. California's tax hasn't been raised since 1998 and ranks in the bottom third of U.S. states. Tobacco taxes work because if you don't smoke, you don't pay. Research shows that for every 10% increase in the cost of a pack of cigarettes, teen smoking drops by up to 6.5%.
The California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 is backed by Save Lives California, a coalition of health advocates and others that includes the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the California Medical Association and philanthropist Tom Steyer. The money raised by the tax will fund healthcare costs and research into cures for cancer and other tobacco related diseases.
For more details visit: http://www.savelivesca.com/
Paid for by Save Lives California, a coalition of Doctors, Dentists, Health Plans, Labor, and Non-profit Health Advocate Organizations. Major funding by California State Council of Service Employees Issues Committee and California Hospitals Committee on Issues, (CHCI) Sponsored by California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (CAHHS).