Starting on Thursday, June 9, a new law that enforces a changed smoking age was implemented in California. All stores selling cigarettes including liquor and convenient stores cannot sell cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21. California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has warned that any cigarette selling stores that violate the new law are subject to impose a fine of $6,000 max, and their sales license could be canceled.
On the first day of the new smoking age’s implementation, cigarette selling stores at LA’s Koreatown seemed to show different reactions.
Employee at Olympic Park’s Liquor shop said, “We were told from CDPH that we cannot sell cigarettes to anyone below 21 anymore. They are highly emphasizing the requirement of checking the customer’s ID if they want to buy cigarettes”. He continued, “Usually a lot of smokers between 18 to 20 came very often but obviously they can’t anymore. The law is the law.”
On the other hand, some other stores are arguing that “California government is simply implementing the law without guiding specific rules”.
Olympic Tobacco’s owner Jason Kang said, “We were informed about the new smoking age from the news. CDPH has not informed us anything and many stores in Koreatown that sell cigarettes are not aware of this new law”.
Meanwhile, CDPH’s director Karen Smith said, “A recent research study says that the human’s brain grows until the age of 25, and the younger you begin smoking, the more severe the addiction will be. The new law will ultimately bring benefits of protecting the citizens’ health.”
The new law also applies to electronic cigarettes. In addition, more non-smoking areas were added in locations including public schools, hotel and motel lobby, parking lot with rooftop.
In the meantime, CDPH is supporting smokers between the age of 18 to 20 to quit smoking. Korean smokers who are 18 to 20 can receive free one-on-one consulting and medications that help quit smoking through Asian Smokers’ Quitline (1-800-556-5564, www.asq-korean.org).
Original document available at http://www.koreadaily.com/news/read.asp?art_id=4341918
Translated by Audrey Joung