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Californians Must Be 21 Or Older to Purchase Tobacco

Curran Kelleher / Flickr
 

Curran Kelleher / Flickr

California's new age requirement for buying tobacco products goes into effect Thursday.

Individuals must be 21 years old to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

This is the first time the age limit has been raised for buying tobacco products, says Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health.

California joins Hawaii as the only two states that have raised the age limit from 18 to 21.

She says the aggressive marketing of e-cigarettes is jeopardizing the health of young people.

"The surge in e-cigarette use by teens and young adults is no accident," says Smith. "These products are fueling addiction to nicotine."

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students in California, according to Smith.

E-cigarettes are now defined as a tobacco product under one of the new laws. The electronic devices are no longer permitted in public places such as restaurants, schools and worksites.

Smith says the health department's immediate priority is reaching out to vape shops and thousands of retailers that are licensed to sell tobacco in the state.

"We've created a series of educational materials for retailers, including a summary of the new laws, information on ID checking, fact sheets and other resources," Smith says.

The law applies to everyone wanting to purchase tobacco products with the exception of active duty military personnel.