Statement of Olivia Gertz, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in California, on the California Legislature’s passage of key tobacco legislation on March 10, 2016
(March 10, 2016)
The American Lung Association in California is proud to have co-sponsored and led efforts to encourage the California Senate to pass the most important slate of bills to protect Californians from harmful tobacco and emerging products, such as e-cigarettes, in decades.
This historic vote comes on the heels of last week’s bipartisan vote by the California Assembly to support policies that will ensure that California is once again at the forefront of protecting youth and adults from the harmful impacts of tobacco. Coupled with the upcoming ballot initiative by the Save Lives California coalition to increase the state’s dismal national ranking in tobacco taxes, this year could be a landmark period in improving public health in California.
For far too long Big Tobacco has been allowed to hook a new generation of smokers in our state. We praise the entire Legislature and especially Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, Speaker Anthony Rendon, and Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins for their leadership. In addition, the authors of this package of bills are to be commended for their critical role in protecting the public health of residents of California.
The important public health bills passed today include:
- SB 5 X2 (Leno) - Add e-cigarettes to existing tobacco products definition.
- AB 7 X2 (Stone) - Close loopholes in smoke-free workplace laws, including hotel lobbies, small businesses, and break rooms.
- SB 7 X2 (Hernandez) - Increase age of sale for tobacco products to 21.
- AB 9 X2 (Thurmond) - Require all schools to be tobacco-free.
- AB 10 X2 (Bloom) - Allow local jurisdictions to tax tobacco.
- AB 11 X2 (Nazarian) - Establish an annual Board of Equalization tobacco licensing fee program.