California delays the ban on flavored tobacco products. Tobacco companies led the way, collecting enough signatures to put the law to a statewide vote.
What We Know:
- The ban on flavored tobacco in California is delayed due to signatures leading the law to be voted on. California has put the law on delay until county clerks verify there are at least 623,000 valid signatures. Secretary of State Alex Padilla told county officials to begin verifying signatures on December 7th. Two days later, he and Attorney General Xavier Becerra delayed the law’s effective date.
- The law would prohibit retailers from selling flavored tobacco products but would not make it a crime for people possessing the products. If violated, sellers would receive a $250 fine. The ban does not include all flavored tobacco products. Exempted products are loose-leaf tobacco, premium cigars, and shisha tobacco, commonly used in hookah.
- Kammi Foote, Inyo County’s top elections official, said she is referring the petition to the country district attorney. According to CBS Sacramento, Foote’s office found a mass amount of signatures not matching county records. If enough signatures are valid, the law will most likely be voted on in the November 2022 election. A decision is expected by the end of January.
- A group backed by R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company and Philip Morris USA believes the ban would be harmful to America’s economy, especially during the pandemic. “More than 1 million California voters signed the petition to place the measure on the ballot, and this stipulation honors their rights,” the group said in a statement.
- Jim Knox of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network commented on the situation, including his thoughts on tobacco products’ harmful nature. “Nonetheless, it’s a victory for the tobacco industry,” he said. “They have thrown the implementation of this important health measure into chaos. They’re attempting to subvert the will of the Legislature and at the very least prolong the time the tobacco industry has to inflect addiction and death on our young people and communities of color.”
As groups fight to keep the products, many applaud the ban. Doctors and groups fighting diseases often caused by tobacco encourage the ban. The groups comment on how often the tobacco industry preys on youth, low-income individuals, and Black and Latino communities. The ban would discourage use among such individuals.