If the referendum qualifies with the collection of 623,212 signatures, the sales ban would be placed on hold until voters are given a chance to vote on the issue, possibly in 2022.
The referendum is being pursued by a new political group called the California Coalition for Fairness
“We agree that youth should never have access to any tobacco products, but this can be achieved without imposing a total prohibition on products that millions of adults choose to use,” the group wrote in a statement. “This law goes too far and is unfair, particularly since lawmakers have exempted hookah, expensive cigars and flavored pipe tobacco from the prohibition.”
State Senator Jerry Hill, the author of the bill, denounced the plan to seek a referendum.
“California fought Big Tobacco and won,” Hill was quoted as saying. “This shameless industry is a sore loser and it is relentless. It wants to keep killing people with its candy-, fruit-, mint- and menthol-flavored poison. The adults who are hooked on nicotine aren’t enough for Big Tobacco; it wants our kids too.”
The bill was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom on Aug. 28. The legislation prohibits the sale of tobacco and vapor flavors, including menthol, in the state beginning Jan 1, 2021. The legislation does not make it illegal for someone to purchase, possess or use flavored tobacco or vapor products.