California Bans All Tobacco Flavors

Flavors are popular

California on August 28 became the second state (after Massachusetts) to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products—including flavored e-cigarettes, flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes.

In California, more than 85 percent of youth who use e-cigarettes use flavored products, and more than 85 percent of youth who use little cigars use flavored cigars. In addition, more than half of U.S. youth smokers—including seven out of ten Black youth smokers—smoke menthol cigarettes, as do 85 percent of all Black smokers. The CDC released its 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results, showing 32.7 percent of U.S. high school students were current e-cigarette users in 2019, up from 13.2 percent in 2017 and that a large percentage of those youth are heavily addicted. And, 97 percent of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product in the past month, and 70 percent cite flavors as the reason for their use.

“Tobacco companies have been targeting vulnerable populations for decades, and flavors are one of their most potent weapons,” said UW-CTRI Director Dr. Michael Fiore. “This new law is a huge victory for public health, particularly for the Black community and for children.”

The 58-1 California Assembly vote and 34-0 California Senate vote underscored the bipartisan support. Fiore said, “We look forward to similar laws in Wisconsin and across the nation.”