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News: Two States Looking to Increase Legal Smoking Age to 21

According to the American Lung Association, 90 percent of smokers pick up their habit by the time they reach age 18. In an effort to reduce the number of adolescent smokers, two states are currently working to raise the legal smoking age to 21.

California Senator Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa) and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson both submitted proposals to their respective state houses in late January. Attorney General Ferguson’s legislation—Senate Bill 5494 and House Bill 1458—are sponsored by Senator Mark Miloscia and Representative Tina Orwall.

Ferguson has said that he hopes raising the legal age for smoking will be a pushback against Big Tobacco, who have been perceived as targeting 18-21 year olds. Raising the legal smoking age could also effectively stop younger teens from having 18 year olds buying cigarettes for them.

There are currently four states—Utah, New Jersey, Alabama and Alaska (with the addition of Washington D.C.)—who have a legal smoking age of 19.

California’s bill to increase the legal smoking age is in conjunction with the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. These organizations are working to impose a $2-per-pack increase in cigarette taxes in order to renew their anti-smoking campaign.

Attempts to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 have been unsuccessful in the past. New Jersey, Utah, Colorado and Maryland have all had similar proposals fail to pass. One thing that may give these bills some backing is that in areas where marijuana is being legalized (whether for medicinal or recreational use), the legal age of consumption is 21 years old.

Both Washington and California lawmakers have begun focusing on vaporizers cigarettes as well. There is proposed legislation on the books to keep the patrons of bars, restaurants, hospitals and other businesses from using vaporizers while on the premises of these establishments.

Despite the fact that vaporizers do not burn tobacco like traditional cigarettes, many people still lump them together. This association often leads electronic cigarettes to be included in legislation aimed at tobacco cigarettes.

To educate yourself and others on vaping and how it differs from smoking, we invite you to learn more about how our smokeless cigarettes work.

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