California changed the age limit to purchase tobacco products to 21 on Thursday, replacing the 144-year-old age limit of 18. In addition, a new law effective the same day officially re-classifies e-cigarettes, as well as all vaping accessories, as tobacco products.
Laws are cracking down more and more on the harmful effects of cigarettes and tobacco, as its negative effects on health and the economy continue to be large. The California Department of Public Health estimates that around 34,000 Californians die every year from tobacco, and the direct and indirect costs of the addictive habit range above 18 billion dollars annually.
The new law also hopes to stop underage smoking and vaping, which is estimated to be around 217,000 people between the age of 12 and 17. Lawmakers cited a study by the Institute of Medicine that concluded a raised smoking age would cut underage smoking by 12%.
These laws join many others as attempts to restrict tobacco products and reduce tobacco-related illness and death. Other states are expected to join in the new age limit, as California Democratic State Senator Hernandez, who wrote the bill that changed the tobacco age limit, stated in an interview. “I think California is taking a leadership role in curbing tobacco use and tobacco products. Hopefully, all states in the United States will eventually move to 21 and reduce smoking even more.”