The bills have been approved, despite heavy lobbying from tobacco companies and some Republicans, who argued that smoking is the personal decision of every individual.
“These actions represent the strongest steps California has taken to fight tobacco use in nearly two decades,” Matthew Myers, the president of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, stated. “They will protect children from tobacco addiction, save lives and help make the next generation tobacco-free.”
"With California having such a huge population, it's going to be very impactful nationwide," said Cathy Callaway, associate director of state and local campaigns for the society.
Roughly a half a million US citizens die as a result of smoking-related diseases annually, according to statistics from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. The government spends some $170 billion for healthcare each year.
Some 135 cities across the US, including New York, have raised the smoking age to 21.