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Statements

PHI Statement on New Tobacco Restrictions

May 05, 2016

STATEMENT FROM MARY A. PITTMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, PUBLIC HEALTH INSTITUTE

The Public Health Institute applauds action taken by the federal government and the State of California to tackle the public health harm of tobacco use, which continues to be one of the biggest causes of chronic disease and premature death in the United States.

In California yesterday, Governor Brown signed into law a package of significant measures that once again put California at the forefront of tamping down tobacco use, in all its forms. 

The measures enacted include increasing the minimum age of smoking to age 21 (SBX2-7), reclassifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products (SBX2-5), and expanding and strengthening smoke-free legislation to include more public spaces (ABX2-7).  

Pricing and tobacco taxes have proved to be one of the most effective strategies to curb tobacco use, and we were disappointed to see Governor Brown veto ABX2-10 (Bloom). Bloom’s bill would have allowed local governments to levy tobacco taxes in their communities. Its veto means statewide tobacco prices will continue to be amongst the lowest nationwide. 

We also strongly welcome the announcement from the FDA to rein in use of e-cigarettes. New federal rules will regulate e-cigarettes like tobacco, prohibiting sales to children, requiring health warnings and restricting marketing efforts.

The federal government, Governor Brown and California legislators chose to protect the public’s health rather than pander to big tobacco companies. Their actions will save thousands of lives. We hope other states and local jurisdictions will follow their lead.