As reported by the Associated Press:
Andrew Rodriguez was 15 years old when he smoked his first cigarette. He knows how addictive smoking can be and hopes a new California law raising the smoking age will discourage young people from taking up the habit.
“I think it’s better,” said the 21-year-old chef-in-training from Los Angeles. “I just hope they don’t raise the drinking age.”
Beginning Thursday, smokers have to be at least 21 to buy tobacco products in California. The nation’s most populous state joins Hawaii and more than 100 municipalities in raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Anyone who sells or gives tobacco to people under 21 could be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime.
Huthyfa Ali, a convenience store clerk near downtown Los Angeles, doesn’t expect the new rule to affect business since he doesn’t serve many teenage customers. Ali applauded the effort to deter minors from using tobacco products, but noted that determined youngsters tend to find a way around the law.
“Sometimes they send other people to buy for them. Maybe some people will be too scared to ask” under the new law, he said.
The push to raise the minimum smoking age in California stalled for months over …