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SACRAMENTO -- A Democrat state senator from California has proposed three anti-tobacco bills in the state.
State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Senate District 20) introduced a bill that would create 600-square-foot buffer zones around schools where businesses could not be issued new tobacco retail licenses, according to Tobacco-News.net. The bill would also strengthen penalties for violators. Similar buffer zones are already in place for alcohol permits.
"The shopping centers across the street from a school are exactly where kids are walking past to school each morning and home from school in the afternoon," the site reported Padilla as saying.
Another of Padilla's proposed bills would allow landlords to prohibit smoking in rental units. The third would raise the cigarette tax $1.50 per pack, according to Tobacco-News.net. The revenue from the increased tax would support the general fund and anti-tobacco programs. The senator added that this bill is a backup plan in case a similar ballot measure fails at the voting booth.
However, Tobacco-News.net reported that Altria, a tobacco manufacturer which is the parent company of Philip Morris USA, opposes the tax increase because of the financial burden to consumers. In addition, the company opposes the buffer zones because they would hurt retailers and cost jobs.