San Francisco raises the smoking age to 21–and California might too

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Smokers in San Francisco will now have to be over the age of 21 to legally buy and smoke tobacco products, a city board decided this week. The move brings San Francisco in line with several other major cities including Boston, New York, and Cleveland, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Yesterday, the California state Assembly passed a bill that includes raising the smoking age to 21, which would make that the standard across the state. The bill also restricts the use of e-cigarettes in public places and bans marketing and selling them to minors. The state's senate will now consider the bill and is likely to pass it, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The National Academy of Pediatrics has advocated for raising the smoking age nationally to 21, which they say could improve the health of young adults but also potentially prevent tobacco addictions. And the Institute of Medicine released a report in March last year that found that raising the age could actually prevent deaths and disease. From the report:

The CISNET model projected that if the MLA [Minimum Legal Age] were raised now to 21 nationwide, there would be approximately 223,000 fewer premature deaths, 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost for those born between 2000 and 2019.


The report also found that 90% of regular smokers first tried a cigarette before the age of 19.