Friday, April 19, 2024

Proposed California Bill Aims to Phase Out Tobacco Use


Assembly Bill 935 would mean that anyone currently aged 16 or less would not be able to ever purchase tobacco products in their lifetime.

Filed by Assemblyman Damon Connolly, D-San Rafael, Assembly Bill 935, would mean that anyone currently aged 16 or less would not be able to purchase tobacco products, presently or in the future. “The impetus for the bill is really that we’ve known for 50 years that tobacco and nicotine products cause cancer, are incredibly addictive and decrease quality of life,” said Connolly as quoted by the Southern California Record.

The bill has the support of multiple health entities including: the Union of American Physicians and Dentists; the American Academy of Pediatrics – California; Smoke-Free Marin; African American Tobacco Control Leadership; Public Health Advocates; and International Youth Tobacco Control.

Naturally the tobacco industry opposes the bill. “These proposals are not based on scientific evidence, but rather on a political agenda that seeks to demonize adult cigar smokers and restrict their freedom to enjoy a legal product,” said Joshua Habursky, deputy executive director of The Premium Cigar Association. “Clearly, it is no longer a hidden agenda of the anti-tobacco groups to support full prohibition.”

Similar laws considered across the globe

A similar measure is being considered in Denmark and Malaysia. The proposed measure for Denmark is part of a new bill that the government believes will help reduce the number of smokers. If the bill becomes law, the current tobacco age limit of 18 would be moved up so that no one born after 2010 would be able to purchase nicotine products in Denmark for the rest of their lives.

The proposed ban would go into effect in 2028, when Danes born in 2010 turn 18. That year, the 18 year age limit would start being extended each year in order to prevent those born in 2010 or after from ever purchasing nicotine products.

Discussing the Danish proposal, Patrik Strömer, Secretary General of the Association of Swedish Snus Manufacturers, said that the bill is a form of “state-mandated discrimination” for anyone born 2010 or later. “It would mean that people who are born after a certain year lack the same choice as someone born earlier. That feels as arbitrary and undemocratic as limiting a person’s choices due to their skin colour or country of birth,” he tells Snusforumet.

While in Malaysia, health minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced a ban on the sales of cigarettes and safer nicotine alternative products to anyone born in 2005 or beyond. The plan was released at the 150th session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board meeting where Jamaluddin said the hope is that the legislation is finalized this year and that it would bring about a “generation endgame to smoking.”

“This is by making it illegal for the sale of tobacco and other smoking products to anyone born after 2005,” said Jamaluddin, “Malaysia feels that it will have a significant impact on preventing and controlling NCDs (non-communicable diseases),” he added.


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