Governor Newsom Signs Landmark Bill, SB 793, to End the Retail Sale of Flavored Tobacco
November 6, 2020
November 6, 2020
In response to decades of death and disease caused by the tobacco industry with its flavored tobacco products, Governor Newsom and California lawmakers answered the calls of Californians by passing Senate Bill (SB) 793. SB 793 prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products, including vapes and menthol cigarettes. The law holds the tobacco retailers, or their employees, responsible for the sale of flavored tobacco products. Individuals who possess them with the intent to sell also violate the law. The law does not criminalize an individual for purchasing, using or possessing flavored tobacco products for personal use.
Starting January 1, 2021, retailers will be prohibited from selling these flavored tobacco products:1
The law does not apply to: the sale of flavored shisha/hookah, premium cigars over $12, and loose leaf pipe tobacco.
SB 793 comes in the wake of the 2019 EVALI outbreak that caused a serious and mysterious lung illness in mostly young people,2 and the youth vaping epidemic, in which youth vaping skyrocketed by 218% in the last two years among middle school students and by 125% among high school students.3,4
The tobacco industry hooks kids on vaping by using fun flavors that sparks curiosity and makes tobacco taste good. That puts teens at risk for a lifetime of nicotine addiction, health problems, and permanent brain changes. Sadly, 97% of kids who vape use flavors.5 SB 793 eliminates a huge access point for kids to get flavored tobacco products – retail stores. For more information on the teen vaping epidemic visit www.FlavorsHookKids.org
SB 793 protects Californians by correcting the mistake made in the 2009 federal law that got rid of flavored cigarettes. In 2009, Big Tobacco lobbied to keep menthol cigarettes out of the law. It’s estimated that, had menthol cigarettes been included in the law, up to 237,000 Black deaths would have been prevented by 2050.6 When Big Tobacco had the opportunity to save African American/Black lives, they fought to keep their deadly products on the market. SB 793 stands up to Big Tobacco and will save African American / Black lives in California.
The tobacco industry has been strategically killing African American/Black people for decades. Tobacco industry documents reveal aggressive targeting of the African American/Black community, with more tobacco ads in predominantly African American/Black neighborhoods.7 Even more alarming, studies have found cigarettes are cheaper in Black neighborhoods, particularly menthol cigarettes.8 The tobacco industry even handed out free packs of cigarettes in African American/Black neighborhoods.9 The tobacco industry’s aggressive targeting worked: 68% of African American adults who smoke cigarettes smoke menthol cigarettes, compared to only 19% of white adult who smoke cigarettes.10
For decades, tobacco companies worked hard to keep menthol cigarettes cheap, accessible and seemingly desirable for African American/Black communities, knowing that menthol cigarettes are deadly. Learn more at WeAreNotProfit.org.
SB 793 is especially vital now, during a time when optimal lung health is key. The California Department of Public Health, doctors, and health professionals recommend quitting all tobacco use because:
Learn the facts about COVID-19 and smoking and vaping from Dr. Elisa Tong of UC Davis.