Smoking has been on the decline for years, but California wants it to decline even faster. The Golden State is poised to become the first to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21, a policy aimed at keeping cigarettes out of high school.

The state legislature on Thursday approved the bill, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Other states have raised the purchasing age to 19, but no other state has come close to 21 yet. It's a stark contrast with the drinking age, which has been 21 in every state for more than two decades, since the federal government tied state highway funds to the higher drinking age.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.