Governor Jerry Brown has signed a package of anti-tobacco bills that includes raising the California legal smoking age to 21. Brown had a midnight deadline for six anti-tobacco bills and he signed five. Brown vetoed a bill that would have allowed counties and cities to ask voters to approve local tobacco taxes. Another bill mandates that e-cigarettes will now be classified as tobacco products.Facing a midnight deadline to act on six anti-tobacco bills, Brown signed all but one. The lone veto was for a bill that would have allowed counties and cities to ask voters to approve local tobacco taxes. “Although California has one of the lowest cigarette tax rates in the nation, I am reluctant to approve this measure in view of all the taxes being proposed for the 2016 ballot,” Brown wrote in his veto message.
Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, author of the bill to raise the legal age, expects other states to follow the lead of California.”It’s going to send a shockwave across the country,” Hernandez said.Anyone who gives tobacco or tobacco paraphernalia to someone under 21 could be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime.Under the new law, 18-20-year-olds will no longer be allowed to buy tobacco in California starting on June 9.Veterans organizations and Republican lawmakers in California objected to the bill, saying people old enough to die for their country are old enough to use tobacco.The California proposal stalled for six months until lawmakers agreed to retain the 18-year-old tobacco age for military personnel and passed it in early March.