Yesterday, the California State Senate passed a half dozen anti-tobacco measures as part of the state’s Special Session, most notably an expansion to the current smoking ban and a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.
The approved bills include:
- S.B.X2 5 — Would classify e-cigarettes and vaping devices as “tobacco products.”
- S.B.X2 6 — Would extend the smoking ban to most businesses with more than five employees.
- S.B.X2 7 — Would increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.
- S.B.X2 8 — Would promote tobacco-free policies and education programs at schools.
- S.B.X2 9 — Would allow for local governments to impose additional taxes on tobacco products.
- S.B.X2 10 — Would increase the licensing fees for tobacco sellers.
Because of unique rules for the special session, these bills were quickly moved from the Senate’s Health Committee, to the Appropriations Committee and then to a full vote. Normally, these bills would all pass through the Senate Governmental Organization Committee before heading to a floor vote.
The rules for the special session allow for bills to bypass that committee, which greatly increased the speed and success of the bills. In addition, the bills will require a simple majority in the Assembly, the other half of the California legislature. That being said, they are likely to face much more opposition. Numerous anti-tobacco bills have easily passed through California’s Senate, only to stall in the Assembly.
If cigar smokers got any victory, it was in S.B.X2 6, the smoking ban. The language approved includes an exemption for tobacco stores and cigar bars.