California lawmakers have introduced legislation that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to individuals born after January 1, 2007, with the ultimate goal of banning all tobacco sales in the state.
Under the proposed law, people born after this date would have to show identification proving they are at least 67 years old to purchase cigarettes. Assemblymember Damon Connolly, the bill’s author, believes that the ban would protect the next generation of Californians from tobacco addiction.
The tobacco industry is expected to fight the ban, and it could have a significant impact on the state’s economy. However, lawmakers point to New Zealand’s similar law and Brookline, Massachusetts’ ban as evidence that the ban could be successful.
While the bill would not criminalize the use or possession of tobacco, retailers would be fined for selling to individuals born after the specified date. The ban would not affect marijuana, which is legal to smoke recreationally in California.
Connolly suggested that the ban would save taxpayers money by reducing the significant burden on the public health system caused by tobacco use.