Supervisors Scott Wiener, Eric Mar and Malia Cohen plan to introduce legislation Tuesday that would make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.
The American Heart Association, which supports the legislation, says nearly 95 percent of smokers take up the habit before they're 21.
Wiener says the hope is that making it more difficult for young people to access cigarettes will cut down on the overall number of smokers. It could also curb tobacco-related illnesses and the rates of low-birth-weight babies born to young mothers who smoke. He says smoking is bad for San Franciscans' health, but there's more than just a human cost.
"Tobacco-related illnesses have a nearly $400 million annual impact on San Francisco in terms of health costs and the other costs that occur when people are sick and unable to work," Wiener said.
If the proposal passes, San Francisco would become the latest in a growing list of jurisdictions to raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases. New York City adopted a similar law in 2013, and the state of Hawaii followed suit earlier this year.