Legislators pass bills aimed to cut tobacco use among youngsters
California’s tobacco tax is among the lowest in the nation and has not been increased since 1998. But legislators should be given credit, as they have passed a bill that allows counties to seek voter approval of a local tobacco tax.
Experts said that the national average state cigarette tax is $1.61 per pack and tax in California is around half of that amount, 87 cents. If higher tax is levied than the amount can be used to help smokers quit the habit. Main purpose is to discourage people from buying tobacco products and levying taxes is a strategy that works.
Researchers said that every 10% rise in the cigarette price, there is a 4% decline in the use. In order to have a tax rise there is a need of a two-third vote. The local tax bill put forth by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) was passed pm a 46-27 vote, which was quite less than needed for two-thirds.
Bloom said that tobacco is a poison. There is a need to take steps to keep it away from youngsters. Two more bills were passed by the Assembly. One was by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), which would increase the smoking age from 18 to 21. The bill was passed 49 to 25.
As per Hernandez, there are researches unveiling that 90% of smokers started smoking before they get 21 years of age and 80% before 18. Last week, San Francisco joined Hawaii and New York City to increase the legal smoking age to 21.
Second bill that has been passed is regulation of electronic cigarettes like tobacco and was put forth by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). Use of electronic cigarettes was prohibited at public places, in a similar move as cigarettes have been banned in public places like restaurants and theaters. The bill passed by 52 to 21. Three more bills have also been passed.
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