by California State PTA Legislative Action Committee
With flavors like “cotton candy,” “mango slushy,” and “chocolate,” vaping tobacco products have become increasingly popular among youth as young as 4th grade. A 2020 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that approximately one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students used e-cigarettes. The report directly ties the sale of flavored tobacco products, including candy-flavored vaping liquids, to a sharp increase in tobacco usage among our young people. The tobacco industry is targeting children.
That’s why California State PTA and the majority of California legislators supported Senate Bill (SB) 793, which was signed into law in 2020. The law would have prohibited the sale of flavored tobacco products.
Opponents of SB 793 Put Proposition 31 on the November Ballot
Proposition 31 is a referendum that asks if voters agree with that law. As explained by the Secretary of State, the California Constitution provides for this type of referendum, enabling voters to approve or reject laws such as SB 793.
Since the passage of SB 793 in 2020, corporations that manufacture tobacco products like Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds have spent millions to delay the law, with the goal of stopping it permanently.
Proposition 31 asks voters whether they want to approve or reject the law regarding flavored tobacco products that was already passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor. A YES vote means that you approve SB 793 and want to keep it.
In other words, if approved/supported by the voters (YES votes) this proposition would allow SB 793 to go into effect and make it illegal to sell flavored tobacco products in the state of California. A law that would protect the children and families of California.
If this proposition is rejected by voters (NO votes), SB 793 would not be able to move forward and the tobacco industry would be able to continue to target young people and sell candy flavored tobacco products.
We need every parent, educator, and child advocate to affirm the 2020 law by supporting Proposition 31, in the process defeating the opponents of SB 793 who put Proposition 31 on the ballot.
Local PTAs Can Use Their Organizational Voice to Lend Support and Protect Our Kids
California State PTA urges all parents, teachers, members, advocates, and citizens to support Prop 31. Because the California State PTA has already adopted a YES position on Proposition 31, local PTAs can use that as their authority for their own local advocacy.
Local units and councils can use this opportunity to share the harmful effects of tobacco on growing children as well as long term harmful effects on the society. Some resources can be found here https://www.voteyeson31.com/get-the-facts .
You can use your regular local meetings, social media channels, and other communications strategies to encourage your community to support Proposition 31. California State PTA will also be putting together social media messages for your convenience. And don’t forget to encourage everyone to vote in the November 8 election.
Individual action and advocacy is also important. In particular, the Vote Yes on 31 campaign is asking for proponents to share their reasons for supporting Proposition 31 and provides this link for doing so.
A Wealth of Health, Environmental, and Equity Organizations Support Proposition 31
California State PTA is not alone in supporting Proposition 31. The American Cancer Society, American Lung Association in California, and the American Heart Association are among a growing list of supporters of Prop 31. The full list of local, statewide, and national organizations is available on the Yes on 31 website.