A proposal that bans the use of most flavored tobacco products in California advanced with overwhelming support from state lawmakers and will become law early next year.
The state Assembly moved Senate Bill 793 across a finish line with a 50-0 vote. It went through a final Senate vote and received Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.
Under the proposed law, which is supported by dozens of health care, youth and community organizations, retailers will be penalized for selling flavored tobacco products, including fruit-flavored cigarillos and other common vaping products. Each violation is $250.
The intention of the law is to shield young people from using and becoming addicted to flavored vaping liquids and other related products, but backers of big tobacco counter that the state will lose valuable tax revenue instead.
Sadly, the use of e-cigarettes by teens only got worse despite the efforts of federal law to slow down the use of the addictive product.
As reported by the California Dental Association, teens and other young users were drawn to the popular fruit and mint flavored e-cigarettes that masked the harsh taste of tobacco. This delivery of product made it easier to get hooked and harder to quit.
Lawmakers also cited another study that demonstrated a pattern by big tobacco to market products to low-income communities, communities of color and other people dealing with other social inequities.
Before the pandemic, the CDA and other health leaders strongly supported the passage of this bill.
There are now fears, however, that a November 2022 vote will reverse the law. Tobacco proponents plan to collect signatures to force a referendum that will ask voters to decide the matter.
The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.