The SFMS/CMA endorsed tobacco legislation package heads to the Senator floor after Monday’s approval by the Senate Appropriation Committee.
Among the approved package of special session tobacco bills were SBX2-5, authored by Senator Mark Leno, which seeks to apply the same regulations imposed on traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, and SBX2-7, by Senator Ed Hernandez, which would raise the age requirement to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.
In his testimony on Monday, Leno cited a statement by the California Department of Public Health, “which recommends that existing laws that currently protect minors and the general public from traditional tobacco products should be extended to cover e-cigarettes, and that’s what our bill will do,” he said.
Hernandez said there were about 18 billion fiscal reasons to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco up to 21. That's the estimated health care cost associated with tobacco products, he said, along with an estimated $3.5 billion spent every year in Medi-Cal to treat tobacco-related conditions.
Hernandez said his bill will significantly reduce the number of young people who take up smoking and result in significantly lower health costs.
“It should not be so easy for our children to get a hold of this deadly drug,” Hernandez told the panel.
The other four tobacco bills passed yesterday were:
- SBX2-6 would add hotel lobbies, small businesses, break rooms and tobacco retailers to the list of smoke-free workplaces;
- SBX2-8 would require schools to be smoke-free, including charter schools;
- SBX2-9 would allow voters in local jurisdictions and counties to tax tobacco distributors; and
- SBX2-10 would start a tobacco licensing fee program for all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
SFMS is coordinating a lobby day with the Save Lives CA (a coalition with CMA, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Planned Parenthood, American Academy of Pediatrics, California Dental Association, SEIU, and more) to call attention and support for this broad group of tobacco bills.