Before Senate Bill 793 and Proposition 31 were passed, more than 100 local jurisdictions within California has passed their own flavored tobacco product bans and restrictions. Going into the Nov. 8, 2022 vote, a recent UC Berkley Institute of Governmental Studies poll reported that voters favored Proposition 31 58 percent to 32 percent. Democrats and unaffiliated voters both were found to be in support of the measure banning flavored tobacco products.
Proposition 31 also had a lot of outside support with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg contributing $47 million to the Proposition 31 campaign and movement. Days before the election, Governor Gavin Newsom also re-confirmed his support of Proposition 31, tweeting that it offered Californians “a chance to stand up to nasty tobacco companies that are willing to put our kids’ health at risk to flush their bank accounts with cash.” In that Nov. 4 tweet, Newsom urged Californians to vote “yes” on Proposition 31 which would ensure the ban on flavored tobacco would stay in place.
Those against the ban say it will lead to the creation of a black market in the state of California. They also state that by banning these products, many that are seen as alternatives to traditional combustible tobacco products, smokers have fewer options if they’re looking for reduced harm products. Also, the ban on flavored products like menthol cigarettes unfairly targets certain communities like Black smokers who are more likely to use menthol cigarettes.