Though buying cigarettes might soon become a 21-and-over activity for any smoking Californian, San Francisco isn't content to wait for Governor Jerry Brown to decide if he's gonna OK the package of tobacco legislation California's State Senate approved Thursday that would increase the state's smoking age to 21.
Yeah, though it looks like the whole entire state is headed in that direction, like a commenter in the early 00s, SF is still eager to declare "Second!" In this case, the "second" is a pedantic one: according to a press release sent by Supervisor Scott Wiener when SF's "you must be 21 to buy tobacco products" ordinance was approved by the Board of Supes last week, SF is "the second largest city in the country, after New York City, to set the tobacco purchasing age at 21."
That distinction isn't that distinct, even in CA, since as of 2016 Santa Clara County has also raised the limit to 21, Berkeley's city council approved an increase to 21 on January 26 of this year, and Healdsburg OKed a 21-and-up law in 2014 before caving to tobacco industry threats.
Unlike the statewide law, SF's only prohibits folks who are under 21 from buying tobacco products, but doesn't disallow them from smoking, vaping, etc. The CA-wide law now on Brown's desk would increase the age one is allowed to smoke, which would also outlaw purchase of the products.
So, though obviously the local point is likely to be pointless very soon (unless Brown decides against approving the statewide law), why not make a little show of signing SF's proposal into law? That's what is happening RIGHT NOW, according to Mayor Ed Lee's schedule of public events (in fact, it's the only thing on it for today):
Once passed by Lee, the SF law will take effect on June 1. For the first year, tobacco sellers who violate the law will have a grace period during which they will be hit only with a warning, and will be reminded of the law with mailers, on-site visits, stickers and notices from SF's Department of Public Health. After that year, any offenders could have their ability to sell tobacco products to anyone suspended or revoked. Of course, since by then California's law will either be in effect (superseding local laws) or vetoed (paving the way for some fun local lawsuits, I suspect), all that is probably moot.