California Lawmakers Propose Statewide Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products

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California lawmakers propose flavored tobacco ban

At the end of November 2018, six California lawmakers announced a plan that would bring an end to flavored tobacco sales in retail stores and vending machines throughout California.

Flavored tobacco has been in the crosshairs of local, state and federal government for some time, with an increase in recent years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already announced plans to introduce a ban on flavored tobacco products and place limits on where these products can be sold [read more here]. A ban on flavored tobacco is nothing new in California with the most notable being a ban on flavored tobacco products in San Francisco back in 2017 [read more here]. Twenty-six different cities in California already have some type of restriction on flavored tobacco product sales. This new proposal would affect the entire state of California and builds on the FDA’s latest efforts to curb e-cigarette use among teens. The proposed legislation would also ban menthol cigarettes.

This new legislation seeks to ban the sales of flavored tobacco products and to establish strict age verification requirements for online tobacco sales. The lawmakers behind the bill hope the stricter rules will prevent minors from using tobacco products. If this measure passes, it would be the first state ban on flavored tobacco sales in physical stores. This legislation addresses a concern that Juul, the maker of a popular e-cigarette and e-liquid pod product, will resume selling some of its flavored nicotine products in convenience and vape shops again when it feels stores have properly implemented age-verification processes.

Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), who is leading the effort, has drafted the bill to focus on age verification, putting in place penalties of $1,000-$2,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for a fifth age-verification violation within a five-year period.

Supporters of the bill are for now mostly from one party, and include Sens. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda); Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge, Los Angeles County); Connie Leyva, (D-Chino, San Bernardino County); and Scott Wiener, (D-San Francisco); and Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, (D-Sacramento).

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