CBS News reports that California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a new bill that will ban the sale of flavored tobacco. Sen. Jerry Hill spearheaded the legislation as a way to “address an unprecedented surge in youth nicotine consumption.”
According to the new bill, retailers won’t be criminally charged for selling flavored cigarettes or vaping cartridges, and instead, could face fines of up to $250. The measure focuses on sweet flavors, such as fruit, chocolate, candy, and dessert, as well as menthol and mint.
Loose-leaf tobacco and “premium cigars”—which are filterless and made of a tobacco leaf wrapper—are excluded from the ban.
Newsome celebrated the moment as “a victory for public health” on Twitter.
As part of his campaign for the bill, Sen. Hill shared a fact sheet that alleges that “flavored tobacco products are a gateway to harder nicotine use.” Citing a 2019 report from the California Department of Public Health, the fact sheet emphasized that “tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of over 480,000 deaths annually in the United States.” The report also discovered that over five million youth used e-cigarettes in 2019 and over 80 percent start because of flavored products.
California anticipates that its new ban will curb the numbers of teens who start smoking, pointing to studies that show that similar bans in New York, St. Paul, and Minneapolis have yielded positive results. Vaping has also been connected to lung damage and a number of deaths.