California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) that bans the retail sale of flavored tobacco products in the state.
California is the second state, following Massachusetts, to ban all tobacco flavors, including menthol. Other states, including New York and New Jersey, have banned flavored e-cigarette products. In addition, 78 cities and counties in California, including Los Angeles County, have also passed restrictions on flavored tobacco.
The new law takes effect Jan. 1 and imposes a fine of $250 for each violation.
“I have been very expressive in terms of my absolute condemnation of this tobacco industry that continues to find ways to target our youth,” said Newsom. “It will be a point of deep pride and personal privilege, as a father of four and as someone who has had many, many family members die at the hands of the tobacco industry, to sign that bill.”
Opponents of the bill have said that the legislation will hurt retailers and single out communities of color by banning menthol products. The Vapor Technology Association (VTA) Executive Director Tony Abboud told the Los Angeles Times that the new law is “bad policy” because product bans don’t work.
“As California’s economy continues to face COVID-related challenges,” he said, “the last thing its state leaders should be doing is driving people back to cigarettes, shuttering small businesses and slashing jobs.”