California lawmakers are thinking of changing the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Oh my you can vote junior but you can’t smoke. There’s even a movement for lowering the voting age to 16. Will it seem the direction between smoking and voting is going the opposite way?
The Los Angeles Times reported that State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Corvina) introduced the bill on Thursday. Various health groups are supporting Hernandez’s move who is an optometrist by profession. This includes California Medical Association to the American Cancer Society. But with strong clout the tobacco industry has, not mention the money, the Democrat from West Corvina will have his hands full not to mention the smoking youngsters who will definitely vote against him.
Hernandez iof course just wants to protect young people from the influence of “big tobacco” which is trying to get them hooked with cigarette smoking. The younger they start the more addicted they become.
The data on tobacco smoking in California is very alarming. There are 400,000 tobacco-related deaths every year and 21,300 youngsters start smoking annually.
Cobb, president of the California Medical Association, said, “Increasing the age at which people can buy tobacco to 21 years old would decrease tobacco use among young people and reduce the number of smoking-related diseases in the population.”
A regional representative of the Smoker’s Club, Robert Best was highly critical of the proposed legislation, noting that California lawmakers just can’t leave smokers alone. No matter what the lawmakers do according to him, they can’t stop teenagers from smoking. And why not lower the age to 18, he added. People who are 18 are responsible enough to make their own decisions.
Altria, a tobacco company, is against the proposal, and is asking the lawmakers to keep a wait and see attitude while the Food and Drug Administration is making a research on the possible health risks of raising the minimum age. The FDA is expected to submit to congress the report concerning their findings later this year.
Altria spokesman David Sutton said that California state law makers should “defer this regulatory process and give the FDA” time to report before enforcing the law concerning minimum smoking age.