By TOM JOYCE
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) — A California bill would prevent future tobacco sales for those born on or after Jan. 1, 2007.
Assembly Bill 935, filed by Assemblyman Damon Connolly, D-San Rafael, would make this change. If someone were born on Jan. 1, 2007, they would be 16 years old today.
“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,” Assemblyman Connolly told The Sacramento Bee.
The bill is similar to a law New Zealand enacted last year. The country’s law prohibits tobacco sales to those born on or after Jan. 1, 2009.
During his time as a Marin County supervisor, Assemblyman Connolly led an effort to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in his county.
Mr. Connolly’s bill has support from various organizations. Supporters include 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.
However, it also has opposition from the tobacco industry.
Joshua Habursky, deputy executive director of The Premium Cigar Association, 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,” Mr. Harbusky told The Sacramento Bee. “Clearly it is no longer a hidden agenda of the anti-tobacco groups to support full prohibition.”
The Premium Cigar Association urges people to contact their lawmakers, telling them to oppose the bill. The bill may have a committee hearing as soon as March 17, according to LegiScan.