Washington, DC - American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on tobacco measures signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown that will raise the age of sale for tobacco products to 21, add electronic cigarettes to state tobacco regulations and close loopholes in the state’s smoke-free workplace law:
“We are thrilled that our largest state, California, is now part of what’s becoming a nationwide movement to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21. The state joins Hawaii and 125 cities and counties in nine other states which have undertaken this landmark action. We hope the leadership demonstrated by these states and local governments will help blaze the trail for raising the tobacco sales age coast-to-coast.
The sad reality is that tobacco use is currently projected to claim the lives of 5.6 million youth in our nation, according to the U.S. Surgeon General, and it remains the leading preventable cause of death in our country. This new age restriction will have a real impact on reducing tobacco use in California and preventing kids and young adults from ever forming a deadly tobacco habit.
We commend California lawmakers for enacting this important measure that sets a great example of what can be done at the state level to combat tobacco use, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
On top of changing the purchase age for tobacco, Governor Brown signed into law several other measures that will help curb tobacco use in the Golden State. E-cigarettes will now be regulated as tobacco products, and loopholes have been closed in the smoke-free workplace law that will help stamp out smoking completely at places of work.
We strongly encourage other states to follow California’s example and enact similar laws. Every step taken in this direction will move us closer to making our nation 100 percent tobacco-free – a goal our association has been fiercely working towards for decades.”