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.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.