Landmark Legislation to Protect Public Health Amid COVID-19 Resurgence Passes Assembly Health Committee

August 04, 2020

Courtesy of the Coalition Supporting SB 793:

Landmark Legislation to Protect Public Health Amid COVID-19 Resurgence Passes Asm. Health Committee

SB 793 Would End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products, Including Candy-Flavored E-Cigarettes and Menthol Cigarettes 

Sacramento, CA - Today SB 793, landmark legislation to end the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products including minty-sweet menthol, the original candy-flavored cigarettes, passed out of the Assembly Health Committee on a 10 to 2 vote. SB 793, authored by State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), will protect Californians from a new generation of highly addictive tobacco products with one the strongest flavored tobacco restrictions in the country and save our state billions of dollars in healthcare costs as COVID-19 resurges across our state.

“The vote today by the Assembly Health Committee brings California closer to ensuring that the lives of our young people and our vulnerable communities are not hijacked by an industry whose mission is to hook them on a deadly product until it kills them,” said state Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. “I am deeply grateful to the Reverend John E. Cager III and Dr. Phillip Gardiner for their strong support of SB 793 and for their testimony today. I am also extremely grateful to my colleagues in the Legislature who are coauthoring SB 793; to Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, the American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network California, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Common Sense for co-sponsoring the bill, and to the more than 140 organizations who have joined us in this fight.”

"SB 793 is our best shot at stopping Big Tobacco in its tracks by finally ending the sale of minty-sweet menthol cigarettes and other candy-flavored tobacco products," said Annie Tegen, advocacy director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "As COVID-19 continues to take its toll on our economy and public health, this legislation would save California $13 billion in healthcare costs and slow the skyrocketing use of e-cigarettes among our youth. With so many lives at stake - we are grateful for the Assembly Health Committee's overwhelming support, and urge the Assembly to send this critical bill to the Governor's desk as soon as possible."

“Thank you to the legislators who stood up to Big Tobacco and chose to protect our kids today”, said John Maa, M.D., American Heart Association California Advocacy Committee Chair.  “We know that flavors hook kids and nicotine addicts them.  As a surgeon, I have seen the devastating impact of tobacco use.  SB 793 really is a simple bill with a huge impact.  Now is not the time to shy away from policies that keep our communities safe and healthy. We must hold those who abuse and harm our communities accountable - that includes Big Tobacco. If passed, we will be ensuring we don’t lose a new generation of kids to nicotine.”

“The American Lung Association is pleased to see SB 793 pass the Assembly’s Health Committee,” said Erica Costa, advocacy director, American Lung Association in California. “This critical legislation to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco will save lives by ending the industry’s predatory marketing of flavored tobacco products. We look forward to success on the Assembly Floor.”

“The California Dental Association applauds the state Assembly for passing a public health measure that will reduce the number of young people who get hooked on flavored tobacco,” said Dr. Richard Nagy, CDA president. “All too often dentists see firsthand the negative impact that smoking and vaping have on a person’s oral health, and we must do more to ensure our kids don’t start.”

“The California Medical Association commends the Assembly Health Committee’s commitment to ending youth tobacco use by passing SB 793," said CMA President Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D. "Tobacco companies prey on young users by using flavors to hook kids. SB 793 is crucial to ending the epidemic of teen tobacco use and to protecting our youth from a new generation of highly addictive tobacco products.”

The coalition supporting SB 793 includes sponsors of the legislation: the Office of Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and Common Sense Kids Action.

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