Three e-cigarette advocacy groups are asking California State General Assembly to repeal the state’s ban on flavored vaping products. The group’s leaders say an estimated 900,000 former smokers in California could be forced to switch back to smoking if the bill (CA SB793) is not overturned by referendum or repealed.
“Unless California lawmakers want to force hundreds of thousands of vapers back to smoking, they need to reconsider this flavor ban,” said Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association (AVA). “While voting for bans may make legislators feel righteous, the reality is that prohibition is failed public policy and never works for adult consumer products.”
The World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA), Consumer Choice Center (CCC) and the AVA, which combined represent hundreds of thousands of consumers, sent a letter today to members of the California State Assembly members urging them to repeal the flavored tobacco ban bill in California to avoid pushing vapers back to combustible cigarettes.
“Instead of improving public health by reducing the number of smokers, this law will have the opposite effect: more people smoking again,” said Yaël Ossowski, deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center. “Moreover, these measures will push people into the illegal market and will also have a disproportionate impact on people of color, who overwhelmingly prefer flavored products and would suffer the most from criminalization and over-policing in our local communities.”
California joins Massachusetts as the two states having flavored vaping bans, though each have unique exemptions to the laws. In Massachusetts, businesses defined as “smoking bars” are still able to sell flavored vaping and tobacco products.The ban goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
“Gavin Newsom’s plan will have disastrous consequences and he is celebrating a victory for public health,” said Michael Landl, director of the World Vapers’ Alliance. “More than 900,000 vapers in California could switch back to smoking due to the ban. Either Governor Newsom is poorly informed about the unintended consequences prohibition always generates or he is just an anti-vaping crusader.”
The bill prohibits a vape shop owner or tobacco retailer, or any of those entities retailer’s agents or employees, from selling, offering for sale, or possessing with the intent to sell or offer for sale, a flavored tobacco product or a tobacco product flavor enhancer, subjecting them to a fine of $250 for each violation. It also allows local governments to impose greater restrictions on the access to tobacco products than the bill imposes.