One California lawmaker wants to stop tobacco sales in the state entirely.
Introduced by Assemblyman Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael), AB-935 would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 2007.
The tobacco products included in the ban would be “cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, vaping liquid, or snuff and more,” according to the bill’s text.
Currently, Californians have to be 21 years old or older to buy tobacco products, however, that law would be replaced by the new bill, should it pass, California Globe reported.
For example, in 2029, only those 22 years old or older can buy tobacco; by 2040, only those 33 years old or older can buy it, and so on.
“Preventing the next generation of Californians from becoming addicted to smoking should be a priority for anyone who cares about the public health of our state and the well-being of our children,” Connolly said in a statement to KTLA.
The bill would also include penalties for violations, such as “escalating civil fines and the suspension or revocation of the seller’s license to sell tobacco products,” should tobacco products be sold to underaged children, according to the bill’s text.
New Zealand passed a similar ban, prohibiting anyone born after Jan.1, 2009, from buying tobacco products, the Washington Post reported.
The Premium Cigar Association, a trade association that represents and assists premium tobacco retailers, voiced its opposition to the bill in a news release.
“We are deeply concerned about AB 935 and any legislation that seeks to restrict the rights of premium cigar smokers,” Joshua Habursky, Deputy Executive Director of the Premium Cigar Association, said in a statement.
“These proposals are not based on scientific evidence but on a political agenda that seeks to demonize adult cigar smokers and restrict their freedom to enjoy a legal product. Clearly, it is no longer a hidden agenda of the anti-tobacco groups to support full prohibition.”
However, Connolly stated that the bill won’t “affect anyone who is currently of legal age and able to purchase tobacco products and will not punish individuals for simply using or possessing these items. By slowing phasing out the use of these harmful products, we can ensure that the next generation children in California do not get addicted to smoking.”
Assembly Bill 935 is expected to be heard in committee on March 17.