Breaking News!!: Sacramento, CA: California lawmakers approved to raise smoking age to 21.

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Breaking News!!: Sacramento, CA: California lawmakers approved to raise smoking age to 21.

California lawmakers voted on Thursday, March 10th, 2016 to raise the smoking age from 18 years old to 21 years old as part of a sweeping package of measures they are considering to crack down on tobacco.

California Governor Jerry Brown still must sign off on the legislation the Senate approved to make California the first state after Hawaii with the higher age limit.

The bills also would restrict electronic cigarettes the same as tobacco products.

The increasingly popular devices are not regulated by the federal government.

The higher age limit got approved despite amid intense lobbying from tobacco interests and fierce opposition from many Republicans, who say the state should butt out of people’s personal decisions, even if they are harmful to health.

Hawaii was first to adopt the higher age limit statewide.

According to data from the United States Surgeon General, advocates note that the vast majority of smokers start before they are 18.

The United States Food and Drug Administration proposed regulating e-cigarettes but the rule has not taken effect.

The package of bills would expand smoke-free areas to include bars, workplace breakrooms, small businesses, warehouses, and hotel lobbies and meeting rooms.

Smoking bans would apply at more schools, including charter schools, and counties would be able to raise their own cigarette taxes beyond the state’s levy of $0.87 per pack.

More information is still coming into ZachNews.

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