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California Increases Tobacco Purchase Age Today

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The days of adults under 21-years-old buying tobacco products in California has come to an end, as the state’s recently passed increase in the minimum purchase age goes into effect today.

The age increase was part of a package of anti-tobacco legislation signed into effect by Gov. Jerry Brown on May 4.

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Included in that legislation was a reclassification of e-cigarettes and vaping devices as tobacco products, an extension of the smoking ban to most businesses with more than five employees and the launch of a new program that will promote tobacco-free policies and education programs at schools.

Retailers and wholesalers will also soon see an increase in the fees they pay to the state for doing business. The licensing fee for a tobacco retailer is going up from a one-time $100 fee to an annual $265 fee, while distributors and wholesalers will see an increase in their license fees from $1,000-1,200.

The only piece of legislation that Brown didn’t sign last month was one that would allow local municipalities to impose additional taxes on tobacco products. Brown said he was reluctant to sign that because of numerous other tax increases being proposed on the 2016 ballot.

California is the second state to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, joining Hawaii, which passed similar legislation last year that went into effect on Jan. 1. A third state could soon join the group as Massachusetts currently has a bill to increase the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in its legislature, having passed its state senate in late April.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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.

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