SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently announced their decision to change the legal age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products. Beginning June 1, anyone looking to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking products is required to be at least 21 years of age. The legal age for the majority of the cities in United States is currently 18 to purchase tobacco products.
In a meeting that took place on Tuesday, March 1, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the measure. According to SF Supervisor Scott Wiener, the legislation aims to discourage the youth population from turning into lifelong smokers.
The approval of the measure will make San Francisco the second-largest city to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes and tobacco products. Major cities like New York City and Boston have also changed their laws to require tobacco purchasers to be 21 years of age, and across the country over 100 cities have enacted similar ordinances. On January 1, the state of Hawaii became the first state in the country to change the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21.
In December, Santa Clara County announced it would be raising the legal age of purchasing tobacco and e-cigarette products from 18 to 21. The decision made Santa Clara the first county in the nation to pass a smoking ordinance changing the legal age of tobacco purchase.
According to a report released in 2015 by the Institute of Medicine, the study showed that young adults between the ages of 15 and 17 were most susceptible to addiction as a result of the continuing cognitive development during their teenage years.
Opponents of the legislation have argued that California law prohibits the modification of smoking legislation. According to San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, the proposed legislation is legally sound and will be going into effect on June 1, 2016.