Thanks to the efforts of California State PTA and a broad coalition of health organizations and local municipalities, California just outlawed the sale of flavored tobacco products. Senate Bill 793 banned all sales of flavored tobacco and vaping products to both adults and children.
The tobacco industry waged a major opposition campaign, making this a sweet victory.
California State PTA had strong PTA authority for this bill. It had just adopted a convention resolution this summer that specifically called for the prohibition of all sales of flavored tobacco, not just to kids.
Recognizing that tobacco companies were more than happy to prohibit the sale to kids as long as they could continue marketing and selling to adults, convention delegates voted to outlaw all sales. This was to ensure flavored tobacco would not be available as an entry level product to create a lifetime of addiction.
In writing to the legislature, the PTA said:
“Flavored tobacco, and specially flavored e-liquids for vaping promote tobacco use by California’s youth. Over 5.3 million kids in the U.S. now use e-cigarettes. 27.5% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2019 compared to 11.3% in 2016. Flavors are driving the demand for use. 97% of youth e-cigarette users report using a flavored product, and 70% cite flavors as the reason for their use. While we understand the tax implications and potential loss of revenue as a result of this bill, we believe the health benefits to our children and youth should hold more sway when deciding the future of this legislation.”
Several PTA districts drafted the resolution and worked with the California State PTA advocate in contacting key legislators and the Governor as the bill went through the legislative process. PTA worked closely with a range of state and national organizations to pass this legislation and used Action Alerts as well as the Advocacy Insider newsletter and social media to engage PTA members in this advocacy.
Governor Newsom said, “It will be a point of deep pride and personal privilege as a father of four and as someone who’s had many, many family members die at the hands of the tobacco industry to sign that bill.”
PTA Resolution and Background Statement: E-Cigarettes/Vaping, Flavored Tobacco Products and Youth Health