The California state Senate passed a bill on Thursday to raise the state’s smoking age to 21 — a move that health advocates hope will reverberate across the country, say the Huffington Post.
The bill now heads to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature. Brown hasn’t commented publicly about whether he’ll sign the bill, but NBC analyst Larry Gerston said he thinks there’s a very good chance that the governor will sign the legislation.
“Brown is a social activist — there’s no question about it,” stated Gerston.
Supporters say raising the smoking age will prevent people from ever picking up the habit. Ninety-five percent of smokers say they started before age 21.
A new smoking age in California could have a ripple effect in other states. Hawaii became the first state in the country to raise the smoking age to 21 earlier this year. Yet California’s status as the most populous state and its history as a force in the anti-tobacco movement could further nudge other states to introduce similar legislation.
“By increasing the tobacco age to 21, the nation’s largest state will provide a powerful boost for similar efforts nationwide,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a recent statement.