EXECUTIVE ORDER D-68-03


WHEREAS, per capita cigarette consumption in California has fallen by over 60 percent since the passage of the Tobacco Tax and Health Promotion Act of 1988 (Proposition 99), roughly twice the decline of the rest of the nation. Per capita cigarette consumption in California is the lowest of any state in the nation; and

WHEREAS, smoking prevalence among youth in the 8th grade has decreased by 45 percent, from 11.7 percent in 2000 to 6.4 percent in 2002. Among 10th grade students, smoking decreased 24 percent, from 19.5 percent in 2000 to 14.8 percent in 2002; and

WHEREAS, there are still 4.7 million smokers in California; and

WHEREAS, tobacco use can lead to a lifelong, deadly addiction, killing 42,000 Californians annually. Every day an estimated 200 youth, who are not old enough to legally purchase tobacco products, start smoking. Two-thirds of them will become addicted and half of those will die prematurely from a tobacco-related illness; and

WHEREAS, over 80 percent of all adult smokers began smoking before their 18th birthday; and the younger smoking starts the more difficult it is to quit; and

WHEREAS, nearly half of California youth ages 16-17, 47.3 percent, report that it is still easy to buy tobacco; and

WHEREAS, although it has been illegal for more than 100 years to sell or provide anyone under the age of 18 with tobacco products in California, an increasing number of retailers are selling tobacco to minors; and

WHEREAS, California law requires retailers to check the identification of anyone who appears to be under the age of 18 and to post required signs at every retail outlet that sells tobacco; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GRAY DAVIS, Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, do hereby issue this order to become effective immediately:

IT IS ORDERED that the Department of Health Services and the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs immediately focus the public awareness education efforts on reducing illegal sales of tobacco to minors;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Department of Health Services (DHS) immediately pursue legislation to: (1) increase the penalties for selling tobacco to minors, violating other tobacco retail laws, and for failure to post the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act warning sign; and, (2) ensure local law enforcement has authority to enforce the STAKE Act in local communities.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all state agencies who inspect retail establishments that sell tobacco check for the presence of STAKE Act warning signs, and notify the DHS of violators.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, when conducting alcohol enforcement activities, monitor for compliance with the State tobacco laws;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all state agencies that license, inspect or otherwise conduct business with retailers that sell tobacco add information regarding the illegality of tobacco sales to minors, including the 1-800-5-ASK-4-ID complaint line, to their websites, mailings to retailers, newsletters and other appropriate retailer communications;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that DHS and the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs collaborate with the business, retail and law enforcement communities to:

  • Work with statewide retail associations to inform their members about the law that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors and take steps to ensure that their members obey the law;
  • Work with local law enforcement to actively reduce illegal sales of tobacco to minors;

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this order shall be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given to this order.