California, not known for shying away from nanny-state policies, is on the verge of restricting tobacco and vapor products to those who are 21 and up.
The higher age limit is part of a package of anti-tobacco and vaping bills that was passed by the state legislature yesterday. Before it can become law, it must first be signed by California governor Jerry Brown. The legislation will take effect 90 days after he signs it (and there’s no reason to suspect that he won’t).
The new laws will also raise cigarette taxes (it’s always about the money), expand smoke-free areas to include bars, break rooms, small businesses, warehouses, and hotel lobbies and meeting rooms. Most ominously, it will also officially classify vapor products as “tobacco products”, meaning that e-cigs will have the exact same restrictions placed upon them as REAL tobacco products. Insanity.
The only exception to the 21 and older policy will be for members of the military. This exception was added to the bill by Democrats in response to the opposition who pointed out the silliness of allowing 18 year olds to fight and die for their country but banning them from buying cigarettes or vaporizers.
This ridiculous hypocritical thinking puts 18-20 year olds in some kind of weird limbo where they have all of the consequences of adult responsibility and only a few of the privileges. An 18 year old must register for selective service, can spend the rest of his life in prison if he commits a capital crime (or be executed in some states), is allowed to vote, can volunteer for the military, is allowed to sign legally binding contracts, and can consent to sex. But soon they won’t be able to vape in California.
This anti-vaping hysteria is in direct contrast to the remarkably sane government in the UK, which recently began prescribing e-cigarettes to former smokers who are looking to quit. Vaporizers have proven time and again to be a much safer alternative to smoking, and classifying them as tobacco products is nothing more than a blatant cash grab for a government who is seeing steep declines in their tobacco tax revenue.
California will become the second state to adopt the higher age limit, following Hawaii with their current 21 and up law for e-cigs and tobacco products.