LOS ANGELES - On Election Day, California voters approved a ballot measure that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products.
Proposition 31 passed with 76% of the votes.
Products that would be prohibited include e-cigarettes and other e-devices, menthol cigarettes, gummy vaping juice, pods for vape pens, tank-based systems, chewing tobacco and non-premium flavored cigars.
Shisha tobacco used in hookahs, premium cigars and loose-leaf tobacco are the only exceptions.
The ban, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support, will go into effect on the fifth calendar day after election results are certified on December 16. That would make the date, December 21, 2022.
It’s already illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under 21. But advocates of the ban said flavored cigarettes and vaping cartridges were still too easy for teens to obtain. The ban doesn’t make it a crime to possess such products but retailers who sold them to kids could be fined up to $250.
The legislation was signed into law in 2020, but it did not go into effect because a referendum on the law qualified for the ballot, according to the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office. That meant the law had to be held until voters decide whether to put it into effect.
Passage of Proposition 31 would result in decreased state tobacco tax revenues ranging from tens of millions of dollars to around $100 million annually, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office, which provides nonpartisan analysis of the state budget and other bills.
The campaign opposing Proposition 31 received $11.2 million in contributions from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and its affiliates and $10.9 million from Philip Morris USA Inc. and its affiliates, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
The campaign on behalf of Proposition 31 also $1.1 million from the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.
City News Service contributed to this report