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California Senate votes to raise smoking age to 21 from 18

LOS ANGELES – The California Senate voted on Tuesday to raise the legal smoking age in the most populous U.S. state to 21 from 18, the bill’ author said,

If it becomes law, the bill, which must still be approved by the state Assembly, would make California one of the first states to approve a higher smoking age.

The California Senate voted 26-8 in favor of the measure, the office of bill author Senator Ed Hernandez, a Democrat, said in a statement.

“We will not sit on the sidelines while big tobacco markets to our kids and gets another generation of young people hooked on a product that will ultimately kill them,” Hernandez said in a statement. “Tobacco companies know that people are more likely to become addicted to smoking if they start at a young age. ?

A representative for Philip Morris USA, the tobacco company division of Altria Group Inc, could not be reached for comment.

Hawaii lawmakers approved a measure in April to raise the smoking age to 21, and that is awaiting the state governor’s signature. No other state has a smoking age that high, but a few including Alabama and Utah set it at 19.

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