California Assembly Passes Landmark Bill to Ban Retails Sales of Flavored Tobacco Products

August 24, 2020

For Immediate – Office of State Senator Jerry Hill – Monday, August 24, 2020

California Assembly Passes Landmark Bill to Ban Retails Sales of Flavored Tobacco Products

SB 793 Now Heads to Senate for a Final Vote

SACRAMENTO – In a strong vote for public health, the Assembly passed Senate Bill 793, the measure that would impose the country’s most stringent state restrictions on retail sales of flavored tobacco products.

The bill cleared the Assembly with a 58-1 vote on Monday. Coauthored by 65 senators and assemblymembers, SB 793 now returns to the Senate for concurrence. If passed, the bill would then go to Governor Newsom for his consideration.

“The California Assembly stood strong to protect our youth and our communities from Big Tobacco. The assemblymembers who passed SB 793 are the heroes of the day,” said State Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, the bill’s lead author. “Special thanks go to Speaker Rendon, Assemblymembers Gonzalez, McCarty, Weber, Wood, and all the legislators who spoke in support of SB 793.”

“SB 793’s progress also owes much to the efforts of thought leaders throughout state,” Senator Hill said. “They include Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and heroes in our communities – in health, youth, faith and education advocacy, in the arts, and in cities, counties and school districts. Because of their keen focus on the aims of SB 793 and their resolve to cut through the smokescreen of lies and misinformation thrown up by Big Tobacco, this landmark legislation is able to advance.”

“We had a great showing of support for SB 793 today,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, a joint author of SB 793. “Would I have liked to see more votes in support? Yes, but I have to say, seeing only one on-the-record vote supporting Big Tobacco tells me we are making progress.”

“As a joint author of SB 793, I’m proud that the Assembly successfully stood up to Big Tobacco,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento. “Today's vote was a big win for public health and will stymie Big Tobacco’s goal – hooking another generation on their deadly – by phasing out flavored tobacco.”

Several other assemblymembers offered their comments:

Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, said: “As a physician, I have seen the grave, harmful effects that smoking inflicts on my patients. I believe SB 793 will benefit all of us in crucial ways. First, fewer people will fall into the grips of tobacco addiction and lead healthier lives. This bill also will reduce the enormous health care costs associated with smoking, so the state will actually save a significant amount of funds in the long run.

“But I want to emphasize what’s most important about this bill – it will break the nasty cycle that all too often targets children into developing a lifetime of tobacco addiction and then suffer from its debilitating consequences.”

Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda, a principal coauthor, said: “As a mom and a representative of our community, I could not be happier that we took this giant step forward for the health of our children and our communities. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Hill and the unwavering support of our coalition of community groups and legislators, the California Assembly stood strong in the face of the bullying and misleading tactics of Big Tobacco special interest groups.

Assemblymember Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, said: “For too long Big Tobacco has hooked kids onto nicotine through candy-flavored products, creating a steady supply of future cigarette smokers. Today the Legislature made the clear and unequivocal statement that we’re choosing the health and lives of our youth – and all Californians – over the profits of the tobacco industry. I was proud to be a principal coauthor of this historic legislation, and am glad my colleagues saw through Big Tobacco's smoke to overwhelmingly pass SB 793.”

Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath, D-Encinitas, said: “There are now 5.3 million young Americans who are using e-cigarettes regularly, and as a result, thousands are developing nicotine addictions which could stay with them for life. This explosion in youth smoking has truly created a public health emergency that needs to be addressed. That’s why I’m proud to coauthor SB 793, a bill introduced by my colleague Senator Hill to end the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products in California once and for all.

“We know that the tobacco industry’s success in marketing smoking to our kids has been made possible by new e-cigarettes technologies and their variety of sweet flavored vapor cartridges. This bill is our chance to stop this troubling trend in its tracks and save countless young people from the harmful lifelong consequences of nicotine addiction. I’m proud to stand with California Kids against Big Tobacco.”

Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, said: “Today’s vote to ban flavored tobacco sends a powerful message that Californians will no longer allow Big Tobacco to spread lies and prioritize profits over the health of our children and our communities of color. As a proud coauthor of SB 793, I was honored to vote ‘yes’ during today’s Assembly floor debate.”

Assemblymember Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, a coauthor, said: “We are one step closer to banning the sale of flavored tobacco products in California; products that we know are designed to ultimately turn our children into lifelong smokers. Getting this necessary policy enacted into law will send a strong message to the tobacco industry that our children’s health is and will continue to be a priority in this state.”

Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, a coauthor, said: “Today’s vote is a vote for California's future. I am grateful to Senator Hill for fearlessly taking on Big Tobacco and fighting to keep our communities healthy.”

Assemblymember Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, said: “SB 793 protects children from falling victim to the harmful effects of flavored tobacco products. Banning flavored tobacco is a great step toward stopping early smoking habits and future unhealthy addictions. As a proud coauthor, I am happy to see that so many of my colleagues stood firm against big tobacco and voted to ban products that have resulted in early tobacco use in teenagers.”

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, D-Woodland Hills, said: “As the son of a nurse and the father of three amazing kids, I’m especially proud to coauthor SB 793 and commend Senator Hill for his leadership on this important legislation. Today’s vote was a strong message to Big Tobacco that California is committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our kids over tobacco industry profits.”

Assembly Majority Whip Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, a coauthor, said: “The Assembly’s affirmative vote on SB 793 is a big victory for our children. It is an investment in the health and well-being of our young people who we know have been targeted by Big Tobacco for generations. Today’s advancement of SB 793 sends the message that we will not let that stand in California.”

Assemblymember Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, a coauthor, said: “The tobacco industry consistently looks for ways to get people hooked. Pushing flavored tobacco products is their latest strategy that’s resulting in a rapid increase of tobacco use among kids. This is destroying lives and families. SB 793 is a necessary solution to a dire public health problem.”

Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, said: “Today, the Legislature did the right thing to stand up for our children and confront the youth vaping epidemic. I was proud to coauthor SB 793 and vote on the right side of history. This bill will help keep our children safe from harmful flavored tobacco products.”

Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-Marin County, a coauthor, said: “Tobacco kills people. Menthol-flavored tobacco kills people. Fruit-flavored tobacco kills people. Candy-flavored tobacco kills people. Today’s historic passage of SB 793 to ban flavored tobacco in California will save lives and prevent another generation of Californians from being killed by the tobacco industry.”

Assemblymember Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, a coauthor, said: “For the last decade, schools and local communities have struggled to tackle youth usage of flavored tobacco products. I am a proud coauthor of SB 793, which creates a path to protect students and communities most negatively impacted by flavored tobacco. The average age of tobacco users starts at 13 years old; we cannot continue allowing companies to target the most vulnerable in our homes and schools.”

Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, said: “I chose to coauthor SB 793 because flavored tobacco products have quietly hooked kids on nicotine, leading to a dangerous addiction with serious health complications at an early age. SB 793 will end the sale of flavored tobacco products and California will lead the nation in addressing a significant public health risk.”

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, said: “As a parent of a pre-teenager, I’m proud to coauthor SB 793 to ban flavored tobacco products. This is a win for California kids and against Big Tobacco.”

Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, said: “Today the Assembly voted to protect our youth from Big Tobacco by passing SB 793. I am proud to coauthor this very important legislation that will save lives and help put an end to the teen vaping epidemic affecting our communities.”

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D- Fullerton, said: “I am proud to support and coauthor Senate Bill 793, which would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products, including flavored electronic cigarettes, in the effort to help protect our youth and the health of our future generations.”

Assemblymember Luz Rivas, D-Arleta, a coauthor, said: “SB 793 protects our children. The Tobacco Industry purposely targets teenagers and their efforts have been successful. In the last two years, vaping has increased by 218 percent among middle-schoolers and 97 percent of kids who vape use flavors. This needs to stop. I support SB 793 because I support our children.”

Assemblymember Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, said: “As a principal coauthor of SB 793, parent, and former high school administrator, I am proud of my colleagues in the State Assembly for passing this bill and voting in favor of our youth. This legislation is essential to protect our children from Big Tobacco’s attempts to hook them at a young age through candy-flavored products.”

Assemblymember Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay, a coauthor, said: “Teen smoking has become an epidemic because of companies selling flavored tobacco products to children. This brings us one step closer to curbing this devastating health and community issue.”

As of today, here is the list of legislators who have signed on as coauthors of SB 793: Senators Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, Mike McGuire, D-North Coast/North Bay, Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, and Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, are joint authors of the bill. Senator Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, and Assemblymembers Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-Orinda, Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, and Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, are principal coauthors. The coauthors in upper house are Senators Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, Bob Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, Jim Beall, D-San Jose, Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, Bill Dodd, D-Napa, Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, Robert Hertzberg, D- Van Nuys, Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, Connie M. Leyva, D-Chino, Bill Monning, D-Carmel, Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama, Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, and Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin, and Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont. Assemblymembers Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, Tasha Boerner Horvath, D-Encinitas, Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, Wendy Carrillo, D-Los Angeles, Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, David Chiu, D-San Francisco, Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordoba, Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, Jim Frazier, D-Fairfield, Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, Jesse Gabriel, D-Woodland Hills, Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, Timothy Grayson, D-Concord, Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, Marc Levine, D-Marin County, Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, Evan Low, D-Silicon Valley, Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, Adrin Nazarian, D-Van Nuys, Patrick O'Donnell, D-Long Beach, Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, Eloise Gómez Reyes, D-San Bernardino, Luz Rivas, D-Arleta, Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay, Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, and Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, are also coauthors.

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SB 793 Fact Sheet:
https://sd13.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd13.senate.ca.gov/files/sb_793_hill_flavored_tobacco_fact_sheet_updated_8-28-2020.pdf

Media Contact: Leslie Guevarra, 415-298-3404, leslie.guevarra@sen.ca.gov

Updated with latest fact sheet listing more supporters on August 28, 2020