California Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed into law a bill raising the legal purchase age for cigarettes and other tobacco products to 21 years from 18.
The new law, which takes effect June 9, is a big boost to a movement that is turning into the next major challenge to the $100 billion tobacco industry.
It capped a difficult day for the tobacco industry. The European Union’s top court on Wednesday upheld a 2014 law that would ban menthol cigarettes and mandate bigger warning labels on cigarette packages. On the same day, India’s Supreme Court ordered tobacco companies to comply with a new rule requiring graphic warnings cover 85% of every cigarette pack.
In the U.S., lawmakers in more than 10 other states are considering similar legislation including New York, Kentucky, Oregon and Illinois. The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill last month to raise its legal purchase age to 21. The bill still must be voted on by the state House of Representatives.
Hawaii last year became the first state to pass such a law. It followed cities including New York City; Boston; Kansas City, Mo.; and Evanston, Ill.
The nation’s largest tobacco company, Altria Group Inc., has opposed raising the minimum age, encouraging states and municipalities to defer to Congress and let it have “an informed debate based on science” about the matter.