Dec. 21 update
The California law banning in-store sales of flavored vape and tobacco products took effect today, following a failed attempt by tobacco company R.J. Reynolds and vape and tobacco retailers to obtain an injunction from the Supreme Court that would have blocked the law.
The new law bans sales in stores of vape products---with or without nicotine---in any flavor other than tobacco. It also prohibits sales of flavored nicotine pouches, lozenges, smokeless tobacco (including snus), menthol cigarettes and flavored small cigars. Hookah tobacco, premium cigars and pipe tobacco are exempted from the ban.
The law does not ban online sales of flavored vaping products, although some California cities and counties may ban online sales themselves. There is also a federal law that prohibits most vape product shipping though the U.S. Mail, and UPS and Fedex also prohibit vape deliveries.
Nov. 11 update
On Nov. 9, just a day after voters approved Proposition 31, the law was challenged in federal court by R.J. Reynolds and others.
With over 40 percent of votes counted, California voters appear to be on the way to overwhelmingly approve Proposition 31, which bans sale in stores of vaping and tobacco products containing non-tobacco flavors. So far, 62 percent of voters have supported the flavor ban.
Financial support for the ballot initiative came almost exclusively from billionaire anti-vaping activist Michael Bloomberg.
Prop 31 allowed voting residents to approve or reject a bill passed in 2020 by a huge majority of the California Assembly. The law was put on hold for two years after tobacco companies bankrolled a signature-collection campaign to put the legislation to the voters.
The new law, which will take effect later this year, bans brick-and-mortar sales of all vaping products in flavors other than tobacco. The prohibition extends to nicotine-free e-liquid and so-called “flavor enhancers,” which probably includes one-shot DIY mixes.
Prop 31 would even ban flavored non-combustible nicotine products authorized for sale by the FDA and designated “appropriate for the protection of public health.” (The FDA has not so far authorized any flavored vaping products, but flavored General snus and menthol IQOS refills have been authorized.)
The law also prohibits sales of flavored nicotine pouches (which are almost all flavored), menthol cigarettes, flavored small cigars, and flavored smokeless tobacco, including snus. The flavor ban exempts hookah products, pipe tobacco and cigars.
As expected, California will become the second state to ban the retail sale of all flavored tobacco and nicotine products, including those with marketing authorizations from FDA.
Very sorry to California vapers who will find it easier to buy Marlboros than e-liquid. pic.twitter.com/6nzzWISdzJ
— Gregory Conley (@GregTHR) November 9, 2022
The law does not ban online sales, but California law makes selling vaping products online—even from outside the state—an onerous process for retailers.
California joins Massachusetts as the only states to have banned flavored vaping products along with menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Three other states—New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island—currently have flavored vape bans (all passed in early 2020), but sales of menthol cigarettes were left untouched.
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids President Matthew Myers says the passage of Proposition 31 “provides powerful momentum for similar action by other states and cities, as well as by the FDA, which has proposed rules prohibiting menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.”
Despite being supported by just about every national and California public health and tobacco control organization, California Governor Gavin Newsom (who also won reelection yesterday) and most Democratic politicians, Myers specifically thanked only one person in the group’s press release.
For years the tobacco industry has preyed on young people, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to market candied-flavored products that are a known gateway to a lifetime of tobacco use, which is one of the leading contributors to disease and death across the U.S. 2/5
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) November 9, 2022
“We are also grateful to Michael R. Bloomberg for the exceptional leadership he provided in this campaign,” Myers said. “No single individual has done more to fight tobacco use and save lives around the world.”
Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor with a net worth of about $77 billion, contributed nearly all of the $47 million spent by the Committee to Protect California Kids, which led the Yes on 31 campaign, according to Politico. The East Bay Times estimated it would take over 1,900 years of full-time work for the average American worker to earn as much as Bloomberg spent promoting Prop 31.
Californians Against Prohibition, the group opposing the law, has been almost entirely funded by tobacco giants Philip Morris USA (a division of Altria Group) and RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. (a subsidiary of British American Tobacco). The two tobacco companies each contributed more than $9 million to the cause, seeking mainly to protect their menthol cigarette sales in the nation’s largest state.
This stupid law just created thousands of Teenage cigarette smokers who were just Vape occasionally before but now I will get hooked on cigarettes Vape is not so bad and it’s easy to walk away from cigarettes cause a lifelong addiction. I really have a feeling that the cigarette industries was behind this damn law
The ban only applies to “flavored” vape and tobacco products.
Pisses me off like crazy I used vapes to help me stop smoking cigarettes, I really enjoyed not smelling like an ashtray lol but I guess that’s over now. I started smoking when I was 14…. Way back before vapes were even a thing. This dumb law is just going to cost me a lot of gas money going to Nevada or Oregon to get vapes lll
The people behind the law were individuals with ties to the CA cannabis market. Note that flavored THC vapes and smoking products were not affected by the ban.
The massive California tobacco control establishment, with the backing of Bloomberg-funded Tobacco-Free Kids, were behind it. The law is aimed at tobacco products. Cannabis isn’t classified by the state as a tobacco product.
They weren’t. The law bans menthol cigarettes—about half of their income in California. It is RJ Reynolds (maker of Newport cigarettes) fighting the law in court.
In my view. This law them banning vaping juice and other nicotine alternatives. Is funny. It all these people who are non smokers. All trying to control others. But low in behold. If we tell them not to drink, not have a abortion. They scream like little babies. Telling people stop stepping on my freedom and rights. People need to learn to mind their own affairs or lives. And stop trying to tell others what they can or can’t do with thier bodies or right. I’m so sick of non smokers all screaming that vaping is smoking. It’s not smoking.… Read more »
I totally agree if they want to ban tobacco, why didn’t they ban Marbro cigarettes, why only ban menthol? With that stupid theory that menthol is addicting, please get the fact right, flavor is not addicting, if someone smoke cigarettes, they love the tobacco. This is so corruption. They want to put a 12.5% tax of this vape with nicotine. So where are all these money going to? Having such a government like Gavin just make the whole California looks stupid. If California is a democratic state, should we adults have the right to choose what we want. Looking at… Read more »
California voters approved the flavor ban in a direct election. And Nevada does have a 30 percent wholesale tax on vaping products—smaller than California’s, but still a tax.
I SO agree. These whiny snowflakes do not see that at the bottom of it; it’s all about controlling the masses and taking away our rights to choose by big government. It really started many years ago with the seatbelt laws and a few others. But over the years they have brainwashed and indoctrinated the masses. Scary how easy that is to do! Look at Covid lockdowns and V’s mandates.
We are living in scary times. The scariest being the indoctrinated youth
This is just going to cause more drug abuse in our youth as well as alcohol abuse…alcohol is more damaging to your body…so just sit back and watch thank God my children know whats up …all because parents don’t pay attention to there stuff and teens…so silly and a violation to our rights …were all slaves
When does this ban take effect? The article simply states “later this year”.
It has to go through some certification processes that aren’t time-specific. Sometime between late this month and January is as close as I can say.
This entry in RJ Reynolds’ lawsuit against the state may better explain the timeline: “The ban will take effect five days after the Secretary of State certifies the results of the vote, which must occur by December 16, 2022. See Cal. Const., art. II, § 10(a); Cal. Elec. Code § 15501(b).”
So it may be earlier than than Dec. 21, but no later than that.
Thanks for answering, Jim. Not much time to dump the flavored products. Disposal costs are going to be ruinous.
At least all us vape users are going to be stocking up lol
Remember they can still be sold online. The law doesn’t force products to be destroyed, as far as I know.
You can buy online and still have it shipped as long as it’s not through the USPS?
USPS banned shipping of all these products, not just flavored. Some cities and counties have banned shipping on all, not just flavored. So if you live in an area where the gov’t hasn’t banned delivery…..good old UPS and FEDEX, in partnership with govt agencies (in exchange for tax incentives) have banned transport of ANY AND ALL tobacco items, not just flavored and this includes vape liquids, EMPTY, REFILLABLE LIGHTERS AND EVEN BUTANE. So……who do you recommend for online purchases of these items? I’ll wait patiently for your reply.
Yes, if you don’t have local laws that prohibit it. Also you should start looking now for online sellers that will ship to your area.
Making it is easy
I heard you can’t sell online?
Online sales in California remain legal, as the article notes multiple times.
Will California licensed based websites be allowed to or will it be just other websites based outside the state be Able to ship in.
I haven’t seen anything to indicate different rules. Again, the problem is keeping track of local laws. Some online sellers may simply avoid the state altogether, rather than trying to keep track of city, county and township bans.
Is this still confirmed and after the Scotus case? I got an email from one of my regular places saying to buy now before the ban takes effect on 12/21… It’s outrageous to ban it if we can’t buy online anymore. I called another place who said the same but they have a brick and mortar too
The law will take effect on or about Dec. 21, but it doesn’t affect online sales. However, online sales in California have a lot of restrictions (from previous legislation, not this law), so it may not be easy to find vendors that sell in the state.
You can find online store that provides store pickup and shipping.
I have checked out this many time. The theory of in-store selling means they they should be be monetary transactions between the store and the customers physically such as cash or credit card. When u purchase online, all the transactions are done online, without monetary transaction in person.
I hope the stores doing this were advised by a lawyer. Reading the text of the law, I’m not sure such transactions would be exempt.
Can’t you just go into a brick and mortar shop and order it to be delivered to your home in the same town. I’m not understanding why they are just going after small businesses? It does not make any sense that you can get it shipped to you in California but not buy it in a store front.