Tobacco bills hit floor

Democrats announce package of bills to curb use of tobacco in California

A group of state lawmakers recently announced a package of five bills to advance tobacco reform in California. Collectively, the bills seek to curb tobacco use among youth, expand access to care for low-income residents, regulate electronic cigarettes and save lives and money, according to a press release from state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).

Pan’s SB 591 would add an additional $2 tax to packs of cigarettes; SB 151, by state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), would raise the minimum smoking age from 18 to 21; SB 140, by state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would restrict the use of e-cigs in workplaces, restaurants and other public spaces, in addition to increasing penalties for selling them to minors; AB 1396, by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), would divert tobacco tax revenues to Medi-Cal in an effort to reduce the burden on taxpayers for tobacco-related health treatments; and AB 768, by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) would ban all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco and e-cigs, from all baseball venues in California.