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California Senate Bills Target Smoking Age, E-Cigarettes

Frank Franklin II / AP
 

Frank Franklin II / AP

(AP) - California lawmakers are pushing forward bills to raise the legal age to buy cigarettes from 18 to 21 and going after the increasingly popular electronic cigarettes.

On a 26-8 vote, the state Senate on Tuesday passed SB151 by Sen. Ed Hernandez of La Puente that would raise the smoking age. Lawmakers also passed SB140 by Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco to ban e-cigarettes in public spaces on a 24-12 vote.

The Democratic lawmakers' bills both advance to the Assembly.

California would become the first or second state to raise its smoking age. A similar bill passed in Hawaii is now before the governor there.

Leno's bill would classify e-cigarettes as tobacco products similar to cigarettes, banning their use in restaurants, buses, hospitals and other public places.