California has always had a reputation as one of America’s most health-conscious, if not THE most health-conscious state. In fact, healthy living can arguably be called as Californian as the Beach Boys, sun-and-surf culture, or the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s why it’s not surprising that state lawmakers have just approved a series of reforms that would make the Golden State the second to increase the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Also included in the comprehensive package of bills are regulations that may affect vapers and makers of electronic cigarettes.

The reforms don’t just seek to prevent younger individuals from taking up smoking, but also seek to prevent them from taking advantage of loopholes and workarounds. For example, younger teens would have a much harder time gaining access to cigarettes and tobacco products by asking their slightly older friends to buy them a pack.


“Adolescent brains are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of nicotine and nicotine addiction. 18-year-olds are much more likely to buy tobacco products for their 14-, 15-, 16-year-old friends,” said California Assemblyman James Wood in a statement.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-Calif.), who was behind the e-cigarette bill, added to Wood’s comments in a separate release. “Big Tobacco’s assault on youth and taxpayers was dealt a major setback today when the Legislature came to the rescue of Californians,” he said. “Tobacco-free habits save lives and billions of taxpayer health care dollars.”

The reforms, however, were not without criticism. Assemblyman Donald Wagner, for one, said that he doesn’t smoke nor does he encourage his children to do so. But he feels that the reforms effectively prevent California from treating its citizens “as adults,” but serve the purpose of acting like a nanny toward them. Other lawmakers also noted that the bills tend to take away one’s freedom of choice.



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