You won’t be able to legally smoke tobacco in California until you are 21-years-old if one lawmaker has his way.
Thursday, Democratic State Senator Ed Hernandez of West Covina introduced legislation that aims to raise the legal smoking age to 21 from 18.
Hernandez says the he hopes that raising the age will prevent more teens from starting smoking.
“We can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines while big tobacco markets to our kids and gets another generation of young people hooked on a product that will ultimately kill them,” Hernandez said in a statement.
The American Lung Association estimates over 21,000 people under the age of 18 begin smoking in California every year. They also estimate that about 40,000 Californians die every year from the effects of smoking.
Last Wednesday, Washington state proposed similar legislation raising the smoking age to 21. The legal smoking age is 18 in most states, with a few having set the age at 19. Some cities and counties, including New York City and Hawaii County, have already raised the smoking age to 21.