California is on track to ban the sale of most flavored tobacco products, joining states like New York and Massachusetts. The state Assembly passed the ban on Monday, two months after the state Senate passed a similar proposal.
The move sets up negotiations between the Assembly and Senate to resolve differences in the bill before it heads to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has indicated his support for the ban.
The bill does not make it a crime for people to possess flavored tobacco products, but it bans retailers from selling them. Violators would face a $250 fine.
There is also a sizable exemption for flavored shisha tobacco that is sold by a hookah tobacco retailer, though the law requires several conditions to be met:
- The hookah tobacco retailer has a valid license to sell tobacco products;
- The hookah tobacco retailer does not permit any person under 21 years of age to be present or enter the premises at any time;
- The hookah tobacco retailer shall operate in accordance with all relevant state and local laws relating to the sale of tobacco products; and
- If consumption of tobacco products is allowed on the premises of the hookah tobacco retailer, the hookah tobacco retailer shall operate in accordance with all state and local laws relating to the consumption of tobacco products on the premises of a tobacco retailer.
The two chambers must now resolve the differences in their versions of the bill; the Senate bill did not include the exemptions that were passed in the Assembly.