San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

Package of Tobacco Bills Reintroduced to Raise Smoking Age, Regulate e-Cigarettes

California lawmakers reintroduced a package of six tobacco bills this week to fight the No. 1 cause of preventable death in California: tobacco use.

The bills will be taken up during the second extraordinary session, called by Governor Jerry Brown to address health care. The package of bills was introduced by Democratic lawmakers in both the Assembly and state Senate, and includes:

  • SB 5 (Leno) / AB 6 (Cooper) add e-cigarettes to existing tobacco products definition. This bill addresses growing public health concerns about the unregulated use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in California. It includes e-cigarettes within the existing tobacco products definition, thereby restricting the use of e-cigarettes in the same locations as traditional cigarettes. It will also increase the penalties and enforcement options for selling e-cigarettes to minors and require e-cigarette retailers to be licensed.
  • SB 6 (Monning) / AB 7 (Stone) close loopholes in smoke-free workplace laws, including hotel lobbies, small businesses, break rooms, and tobacco retailers.
  • SB 7 (Hernandez) / AB 8 (Wood) increase age of sale for tobacco products to 21. It is estimated that 90%  of tobacco users start prior to age 21, and 80% of lifetime users start before the age of 18. By increasing the minimum legal age to 21, this bill intends to prevent or severely restrict youth access to these highly addictive and deadly products.
  • SB 8 (Liu) / AB 9 (Thurmond and Nazarian) require all schools to be tobacco free. This bill is aimed at reducing smoking prevalence among youth in California schools. Currently, only school districts and county offices of education that receive Proposition 99 Tobacco tax funding are required to adopt and enforce a tobacco-free campus policy. This bill would close that gap by requiring that all districts adopt 100% tobacco-free policies.
  • SB 9 (McGuire) / AB 10 (Bloom) allow local jurisdictions to tax tobacco. This bill would allow counties to levy taxes on tobacco distributers.
  • SB 10 (Beall) / AB 11 (Nazarian) establish an annual Board of Equalization (BOE) tobacco licensing fee program.

SFMS and CMA join our Save Lives California coalition partners to applaud California legislators spearheading legislation to keep tobacco out of the hands of our youth and increase the overall health and wellness of Californians. Smoking contributes directly to heart disease and stroke, the number 1 and number 5 leading causes of death for Californians. The passage of this package of bills will have an immediate, life-saving impact by reducing the number one preventable cause of pre-mature death and disability.

Save Lives California is a coalition of doctors, dentists, health plans, labor, and non-profit health advocate organizations, including American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association Western States Affiliate, American Lung Association, California Dental Association.

Click here for more information about Save Lives California.

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