Besides flavoured cigarettes and vaping products, SB 793 also bans the sales of flavoured smokeless tobacco, small cigars and menthol cigarettes, whilst exempting flavored hookah products, pipe tobacco and premium cigars. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill last August and it will be taking effect on January 1st.
“Using candy, fruit and other alluring flavors, the tobacco industry weaponized its tactics to beguile a new generation into nicotine addiction while keeping longtime users hooked,” said State Senator Jerry Hill, the sponsor of the bill.
The California Coalition for Fairness,
If opponents of the bill succeed at collecting the signatures of 623,212 registered voters, the flavour ban would be put on hold.
Meanwhile, a new political group called the California Coalition for Fairness, is trying to halt the measure via a referendum. A notice was filed with the state by an attorney who has represented firms including R.J. Reynolds, which led the opposition campaign to Senate Bill 793.
If opponents of the bill succeed at collecting the signatures of 623,212 registered voters, the flavour ban would be put on hold. “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 coalition said 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.”
Lawmakers assume Big Tobacco is behind the referendum
State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), the author of the bill, denounced the plan to seek a referendum. “California fought Big Tobacco and won,” Hill said. “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.”
While the members (and any possible ties they may have) of the coalition group pushing for the referendum are currently unknown, lawmakers are assuming that Big Tobacco is behind it. “The tobacco industry has always shown it will go to any length to deceive the public about its deadly product,” Knox said. “We are confident that if it gets on the ballot, that California voters will see through this despicable tobacco industry ploy to continue to lure kids into a lifetime of tobacco addiction.”
Read Further: Los Angeles Times