The Berkeley City Council gave its unanimous approval to a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 at its meeting on Tuesday, but it wasn’t without a bit of hesitation as to concerns over legal challenges that may come from the tobacco industry.

Cognizant that Healdsburg, Calif. recently suspended enforcement of the age increase passed in Oct. 2014, the council acknowledged that it might have to revisit the change, which would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017 should it not be repealed or otherwise challenged before that date.

After passing its age increase, Healdsburg city leaders received letters from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) protesting the change and asserting that cities lacked the authority to raise the minimum purchase age from what the state sets. Healdsburg has asked the California Attorney General for guidance on the matter but has yet to receive a response, according to discussions held during the meeting.

Berkeley is located 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, which is also considering a similar age increase. It is home to just under 117,000 residents as well as the University of California at Berkeley, which has an undergraduate population of just over 27,000 students.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.