A year ago the city of Healdsburg became the first city in the state of California to raise the minimum smoking age from 18 to 21. When the law was changed there were rumblings that warned of a possible lawsuit from the tobacco industry.
That day has come as city officials were recently notified that the measure to raise the smoking age is forbidden under state law that pre-empts local governments from raising the legal age above that of the state established minimum.
The lawyers for NATO (National Association of Tobacco Outlets) sent a letter to the Healdsburg City Council that sets up the potential for a lawsuit if the city fails to comply.
Last week, the City Council discussed the matter in a closed session but made no decision as they sought out legal advice.
According to Thomas Briant, executive director and legal counsel for the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, the California Penal Code states that no city or county shall adopt any ordinance or regulation that contravenes the state law setting the minimum age at 18.
Brian went on to ad that if Healdsburg doesn’t drop its minimum age law, he will ask the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office to step in.