Vaping Could Be Snuffed Out in California If These Bills Become Law in 2019

December 20, 2018

Sacramento Bee
Andrew Sheeler

California lawmakers on both the left and the right are working up plans to restrict vaping in the coming year, citing their worries that flavored tobacco in e-cigarettes entices too many young people to take up a potentially harmful habit.

Two proposals, Senate Bills 38 and 39, would ban the sale of flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products in the state and require e-cigarette vendors to deliver their products in “conspicuously marked” containers and only with the signature of a person 21 or older.

The pending bills would not affect the sale of unflavored e-cigarette products. SB 38 defines flavored tobacco as “any tobacco product that contains a constituent that imparts a characterizing flavor.

In the Assembly, AB 131 would prohibit e-cigarette manufacturers from advertising or promoting products that appeal to children, such as ts using cartoons.

Together, the package of bills would heavily regulate a growing industry that’s projected to record $43 billion in annual sales by 2023, according to Research and Markets.

It’s often marketed as an alternative to tobacco smoking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that e-cigarettes have some potential health benefits to cigarette smokers, but it warns that young people and pregnant women should avoid them.

Flavored e-cigarette products, which trouble some California lawmakers because of their appeal to young people, make up a growing percentage of sales. They now account for about a fifth of e-cigarette sales in most states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I’ve always been anti-tobacco and anti-nicotine and anti-smoking,” said Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, author of SB 38 and SB 39. “I remember the first time I had a cigarette. … It was the worst tasting thing in the world,” he said.

But add a flavor, say cotton candy, to the product, and suddenly it could provide an appeal to younger users, who could then become addicted, he said.