CA – Stop a Flavor Ban! (SB 793)

(Update – 08.29.20)

Within 30 minutes of being handed SB 793, which bans the sale of (and possession with intent to sell) tobacco and nicotine products in flavors other than tobacco, Governor Gavin Newsom signed it into law.

There are, however, notable exceptions to the ban on flavored tobacco products. As mentioned in a previous update, products such as hookah, loose-leaf pipe tobacco, and premium cigars will not be held to the same standards as leaf-free nicotine products like vaping and nicotine pouches. Remarkably, SB 793 prohibits the sale of mint and wintergreen snus and mint/menthol heated tobacco products that are authorized for sale by the FDA–having met the “appropriate for the protection of public health” standard.

While activists are claiming victory, California residents already know that the foundation of an informal nicotine market is already in place. Instead of purchasing menthol cigarettes or bottles of e-liquid from a regulated store, consumers are now forced to buy online or, in the case of menthol cigarettes, out of a backpack or trunk of a car. In short, legal access to safer alternatives to smoking are now strictly limited in California while informal sources are becoming more popular. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that young people, those whom this legislation is supposed to protect, will now have even more access to products intended for people who smoke.


(Update – 08.28.20)

The Senate has agreed with the amendments made in the Assembly and will be sending SB 793 to Governor Newsom.

The governor has until September 30 to sign or veto this bill.

As is the case with any anti-vaping flavor ban, SB 793 goes beyond federal regulations. Notably, the FDA has granted market approval to multiple new tobacco products in flavors other than tobacco. These products and any others that FDA authorizes will be prohibited for sale in California. By comparison, New York wisely (albeit in a ham-handed way) included an exemption for flavored products that FDA approves for market.

Take a moment to tell Governor Newsom to send SB 793 back to the legislature for more work. Ideally, it just goes straight in the bin, but even bad ideas have a way of being recycled in the halls of government.

Send A Message!

 


(Update – 08.25.20)
On Monday, August 24, the California assembly voted 58-1 in favor of banning sales of flavored vapor and tobacco products. SB 793 will head back to the Senate for concurrence with amendments made in the assembly and is expected to pass.

SB 793 was amended to remove hookah, loose-leaf pipe tobacco, and premium hand-made cigars from the prohibition. The ban would also include menthol. Vapor products will still be available from online sellers.

Notably, the prohibition on sales of flavored products does not include an exemption for products with marketing orders from FDA (which includes several snus products which are either grandfathered or recently approved as new tobacco products).
While CASAA expects SB 793 will spend a short time in the Senate before being transmitted to Governor Newsom, it is always an appropriate time to contact your lawmakers with concerns and opposition to harmful policies.

Please continue contacting your officials about this issue and remind them that vaping and other smoke-free alternatives are helping millions of people improve their health.

 


(Update – 08.18.20)
The Assembly Committee on Appropriations will meet this morning to tackle a long list of legislation. SB 793 (flavor ban) is on this list.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
10:00 AM
Assembly Committee on Appropriations
(The public is invited to participate via phone: 1-877-692-8957, access code: 2426237)

Prior to the hearing, written testimony can be sent to [email protected] and California residents are encouraged to reach out to their officials individually. You can take action here on our engagement page.

Take Action – Send a Message!

 


(Update – 08.07.20)

By a vote of 10 to 2, SB 793 (Flavor ban) has passed the Asm. Health Committee and is being referred to the Asm. Appropriations Committee. A hearing is expected soon and CASAA will update this alert when details are available.

If passed by the Asm. Appropriations Committee, SB 793 will then move to a vote by the full assembly. It is vital that California residents continue to make contact with their officials.

Take Action – Click Here to Send a Message!


(Previous Update – 07.23.20)

SB 793, which would ban the sale of vapor products in flavors other than tobacco, is scheduled for a public hearing on

Tuesday, August 4, 2020
2:00 PM
Assembly Committee on Health
(Remote-Attendance Details TBA)

Please make plans to participate in this hearing. Spoken comments will likely be limited to stating your name, affiliation (if any), and position on the bill (opposed).

Prior to the hearing, take a few minutes to contact your assembly member and urge them to oppose SB 793.

Take Action – Send a Message!

 


(Updated – 07.09.20)

Your California Assembly members still need to hear your opposition to a statewide flavor ban.
We have updated this Call to Action to include making phone calls to your officials.

Fill out the form provided to find your Assemblymember’s contact information and follow the talking points provided to MAKE YOUR CALL!

Click Here to Take Action!

 


(Update – 07.01.20)

On June 29, SB 793 was assigned to the Assembly Health Committee. Once again, this bill is in danger of receiving a rubber stamp with very little critical debate over its merits.

Please continue making contact with your officials and urge them to reject SB 793.

  • You can send a prewritten, editable message here; and,
  • if you don’t live in a district represented by a member of the Health Committee, use the contact information below to send your message. (Pro Tip: You can copy/paste the message we’ve provided here into your email to committee members.)

 

California – Assembly Health Committee
Name Email Capitol Phone
Jim Wood [email protected] (916)319-2002
Heath Flora [email protected] (916)319-2012
Frank Bigelow [email protected] (916)319-2005
Monique Limon [email protected] (916)319-2037
Wendy Carrillo [email protected] (916)319-2051
Freddie Rodriguez [email protected] (916)319-2052
Miguel Santiago [email protected] (916)319-2053
Adrin Nazarian [email protected] (916)319-2046
Marie Waldron [email protected] (916)319-2075
Cecilia Aguiare-Curry [email protected] (916)319-2004
Autumn Burke [email protected] (916)319-2062
James Ramos [email protected] (916)319-2040
Rob Bonta [email protected] (916)319-2018
Kevin McCarty [email protected] (916)319-2007
Chad Mayes [email protected] (916)319-2042

 


(Update – 06.26.20)
As anticipated, SB 793 received a rubber stamp from the California senate, on Thursday, and is now moving on to the Assembly. This call to action will be updated when the bill is assigned to committee.

In the meantime, we are updating the recipients for messages to members of the Assembly. Please take a moment to contact your officials and urge them to reject SB 793.

Take Action – Send a Message

 



(Update – 06.03.20)

A public hearing for SB 793 (Flavor Ban), scheduled for Monday, June 1, was canceled due to the recent civil unrest. This hearing is rescheduled for

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

9:00 AM

Senate Appropriations Committee

John L. Burton Hearing Room (4203)

1315 10th Street

Sacramento, CA

 

How you can take action:

  • Contact the committee consultant and your lawmakers. Share your story and urge them to reject SB 793!
  • Written public comment or testimony may be directly provided to the committee by emailing the committee secretary at [email protected]
  • To call in during the public comment period, use the phone number provided by the Chair of the committee at the time of the hearing or find the number posted on the committee website. As is the committee’s normal practice, public comment will be accepted at the conclusion of each bill presentation. Public comment may be limited to stating your name, affiliation, and position on the bill (support or oppose)
  • In person attendance (from meeting agenda):
    • “We strongly discourage in person attendance, but individuals wishing to attend the hearing in person are advised that we must balance the opportunity for the public to participate in the legislative process, with the critical need to protect public health. As such, we are required to strictly enforce the physical distancing guidelines mandated by state and local public health officials. Entry into the Capitol will require all persons to adhere to these guidelines:
      • Do not enter the Capitol if you have a cough or fever.
      • If you have had the virus, and are required to remain at home and monitor symptoms, watch and participate from home.
      • Maintain a minimum six-foot distance from others.
      • Capitol restrooms are equipped with soap, please wash hands often, and use hand sanitizer
    • “In order to maintain physical distancing, seating will be limited. If we cannot provide you with a seat consistent with physical distancing requirements, you can watch on the Senate website. Those who attend in person will be required to follow directions from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms.
      • The public is highly encouraged to use face coverings.
      • The admission into the Capitol will commence 15 minutes before the hearing.
      • Temperature checks will be required as part of the screening process for admission into the Capitol.”

 

Take Action!

Contact the committee consultant and your lawmakers.

Share your story and urge them to reject SB 793!

 

 


(Update – 05.20.20)

Predictably, SB 793 passed the Senate Committee on Health with little debate and virtually no resistance with Senator Grove (SD-16) being the only vote against. The bill is now assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee. While no date is set for a hearing, we expect to see it added to an agenda prior to June 19 which is the scheduled last day for money committees to advance any bills assigned to them.

Take Action!
Contact the committee consultant and your lawmakers.
Share your story and urge them to reject SB 793!

CASAA’s understanding of this bill is also changing. In our previous alert we speculated that the prohibition on sales of flavored vapor products would extend to DIY flavorings. While the definition of “tobacco product flavor enhancer” is arguably vague, sentiment among those on the ground working this issue is leaning toward believing that this language is intended to target short-fills and flavor shots sold at brick and mortar retailers rather than online sales and DIY supplies. But this sentiment does not change our cautious conclusion that the language is vague and ripe for exploitation by extremists within the tobacco control industry.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Hill (SD-13), this legislation may not affect online sales. Last year, California enacted legislation, also sponsored by Hill, that established strict criteria for consumers to purchase vapor products remotely via mail, phone, or internet. Age verification and signature on delivery are part of those requirements. According to the boots on the ground in Sacramento, SB 793 would not outlaw online sales of flavored vapor products, but this does not make them immune from an attack before this bill leaves the Senate.


 

SB 793 would ban the sale of tobacco and vapor products in flavors other than tobacco. This bill is scheduled for a PUBLIC HEARING on

Wednesday, May 13, 9:00 AM
Senate Committee on Health

Streamed Live at www.sen.ca.gov
(click on “Live Stream” at the top of the site)
Public Comment Phone Line TBA
Send written comments to the committee secretary at [email protected]
(you can also use the prewritten message we’re providing here)
In-person attendance is strongly discouraged

SB 793 goes one step further by prohibiting the sale of what it refers to as “tobacco product flavor enhancers”*, which might be sold separately to be added by the consumer after purchase. While the bill is obviously a ban on sales of flavors other than tobacco, the prohibition arguably extends to DIY flavors as well.

Take Action – Send a Message!


  • SB 793 – Bill Page
  • Senate Committee on Health – Agenda, 5/13/2020,
  • Senate Committee on Health – Hearing, 5/13/2020 (YouTube)
  • * “‘Tobacco product flavor enhancer’ means a product designed, manufactured, produced, marketed, or sold to produce a characterizing flavor when added to a tobacco product.”

Did you find this alert helpful? Please consider making a donation to CASAA. We rely on contributions to provide timely information and engagements to help protect everyone’s access to life-saving, low-risk nicotine and tobacco products.

CASAA is 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization. While CASAA is a non-profit organization and pays no income taxes on the donations it receives, contributions or gifts to CASAA are not deductible by the donor as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

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