January 4th, 2021
SACRAMENTO, CA - California's ban on flavored tobacco was set to go into effect on January 1st. However, state officials announced just before the new year they would not enforce the law right now in order to give county officials time to verify the signatures on the petition that would allow for a ballot initiative overturning the flavor ban. For now, this means nothing is changing for adult tobacco users in California who want to buy flavored products.
On August 28, 2020 California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that prohibits the sale of all flavored tobacco and vapor products, including menthol flavored products.This bill was met with an immediate backlash from communities of adult smokers, many of whom use flavored tobacco harm reduction products like the nicotine pouches found at nicokick.com to transition away from more harmful cigarettes.
Thankfully, organizations and individuals opposed to the ban were able to amass over a million petition signatures of Californians who wanted an opportunity to vote on this policy as a ballot initiative - so that every California voter will have a chance to voice their support or opposition to the policy. The effort only needs 623,000 valid petition signatures for the measure to be on the next statewide ballot, which will likely occur November.
Since California has yet to authenticate the petition signatures, the state has rightly decided to delay the implementation of the flavor ban, until they can confirm whether enough valid signatures were collected. This process could take months, so whether the petition signature collection effort was successful will remain uncertain as California’s State House and Senate come back into session in January.
While the decision on California’s flavor ban is up in the air, Californians who are opposed to the flavor ban can still write their legislators to urge them to repeal the ban. Regardless of what happens with the ballot initiative, legislators could pass a bill that overturns the flavor ban. If you live in California, you can find your local legislators and their contact information here.