HealthBeat

HealthBeat

Targeting tobacco

Elected officials across the country seem to be taking aim at tobacco this month.

Last week, the California Senate voted to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. The bill stills needs the governor’s signature, but, once signed, California will be the second state to raise the age limit to 21.

Hawaii raised the smoking age to 21 earlier this year. More than 100 cities across the country have taken similar action, now including Chicago.

This week, the Chicago City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to raise the smoking age to 21 and ban chewing tobacco at ballparks and other sports arenas.

Officials in both California and Chicago also approved higher taxes on tobacco products.

In California, the bill allows counties to levy higher taxes on cigarettes than the state’s 87-cent per pack tax. The California measure also regulates electronic cigarettes the same as tobacco products, expands smoke-free areas and increases smoking bans, according to an NPR article.

In Chicago, the council approved higher taxes on non-cigarette tobacco products, banned smokeless tobacco at all professional and amateur sports stadiums and prohibits tobacco coupons and discounts, according to a CBS Chicago article.

And closer to home, the Tualatin City Council this week established tobacco-free city spaces.

The new policy prohibits the use of tobacco and inhalant delivery systems (i.e. e-cigarettes) on all city owned or managed property, such as parks, trails, parking lots, plazas and sidewalks adjacent to city property.

Tualatin’s policy goes into effect May 31.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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