California Considers Flavored Nicotine Ban in November Vote

California Considers Flavored Nicotine Ban in November Vote
The nicotine industry is preparing for potential flavor bans in California, with a ballot vote on November 8th.

The nicotine industry is gearing up to take action in response to the potential passing of a California flavor ban vote on November 8th.

In 2020, legislators in California passed a ban on all flavored nicotine products, including e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes. However, exempted from the ban are hookahs, pipes that use loose tobacco, and premium cigars. Mint-flavored products are also included in the legislation.

Opponents of the ban have collected over one million signatures, forcing the state to hold a public referendum on the matter. The law, which was originally set to take effect on January 1, 2021, has since been suspended until the vote on November 8th.

If voters support the legislation next week, California will join some states which have already banned the sale of at least some flavored nicotine products. Massachusetts prohibited the sale of flavored nicotine products, including menthol, in 2019; New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York have all banned flavored soda products.

The law proposed in California is unique because it also prohibits so-called "flavor enhancers," which prevent people from buying flavored non-nicotine e-liquids and adding them to flavorless nicotine at home.

Observers predict that the legislation in California will be approved.

A public opinion survey conducted by the Berkeley Institute of Government on October 4th found that 57% of respondents planned to support a flavor ban, while only 31% said "no," and only 12% said they had not yet decided.

Supporters of the ban appear to have significantly outspent their opponents. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, as of mid-October, billionaire and anti-smoking advocate Michael Bloomberg had contributed $15.3 million of the $17.3 million raised by the committee supporting the ban. In contrast, opponents raised just over $2 million, primarily from donations from Philip Morris USA ($1.2 million) and R.J. Reynolds ($743,000).

Critics are concerned that if this ban were to be enforced, it could lead to a significant rise in illegal markets, similar to what has been seen in states with similar restrictions. For instance, the flavored tobacco ban in Massachusetts appears to have encouraged smokers and tobacco users to purchase their products in neighboring states.


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