The state Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a package of six anti-tobacco bills, including measures that would raise the smoking age in California to 21 and restrict the use of electronic cigarettes in public.
The bills were fast-tracked this week through a Senate committee that normally would have held some of them for a week or more to review their financial implications, but instead sent them to the Senate floor so they could be voted on Thursday.
Bills raising the age limit and barring the use of e-cigarettes in restaurants and other public places where smoking is banned had previously stalled during the Legislature's regular session when they hit an Assembly committee dominated by supporters of the tobacco industry.
By putting new but identical bills through a special session on healthcare, supporters of the bills are bypassing the Assembly Governmental Organization, which had gutted the e-cigarette bill.
"We should be alarmed and infuriated that one of the fastest-growing segments of e-cigarette users is middle and high school students," said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) recently. "California cannot sit back and watch a new generation of young people become addicted to toxic, addictive nicotine."