SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed into law a bill that bans the sale of most flavored tobacco products in the state.
This comes hours after the California Senate voted 34-0 to pass SB 793. It's no surprise as Newsom said during his afternoon press briefing that he was "eager" to sign the bill.
The bill does not make it a crime to possess flavored tobacco products. But it makes it illegal to sell them. Retailers could be fined up to $250.
SB 793 is aimed at preventing children from smoking. It's already illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under 21. But advocates say flavored tobacco products are still too easy for teens to get.
It was authored by Sen. Jerry Hill and does not ban all flavored tobacco products. It excludes loose-leaf tobacco and “premium cigars,” defined as any cigar not mass produced by a machine, has a wrapper made entirely from whole tobacco leaf and costs at least $12. It also exempts shisha tobacco products, which are smoked in a hookah—a type of water pipe.
Retailers who opposed the bill said they follow the law and do not sell to minors. They worry that the ban on those products will hurt their business. Hill said the bill will “protect the health and well-being of our kids.”