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Tobacco Use

California tramples on smokers' rights

California tramples on smokers' rights

In its zeal to stand up to the tobacco industry, the California Legislature has gone too far with a new package of proposed laws that would trample on the rights of adults — yes, even smokers have rights! — and prematurely treat electronic cigarettes the same as their dangerous smoke-based brethren.

On Thursday, the Legislature gave final approval to six bills that clamp down on adult smoking by raising the legal age to 21, allow counties to tax tobacco products, hike fees on retailers and distributors and wipe out some of the workplace smoking exemptions in the current law. One of the bills applies all of the same restrictions on tobacco to the nascent but growing...