Information provided by the County of San Benito.
In a release on Aug. 31, San Benito County gave information on California’s upcoming ban on selling flavored tobacco products.
California has become the third state to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, in effort to slow the spread of the harmful habit among children. The ban, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2021, does not make it a crime for people to possess flavored tobacco products, but it bans retailers from selling them. Violators will face a $250 fine.
The release states that vaping products have long drawn scrutiny from federal regulators concerned about their attractiveness to children. These products are easy for teens to get, especially with enticing flavors such as “mango” and “tropical fusion.”
“I have been very, very expressive in terms of my absolute condemnation of this tobacco industry that continues to find ways to target our youth,” stated Gov. Gavin Newsom. “And 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.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states if smoking continues among children at the current rate, it projects 5.6 million people younger than 18 will die from a smoking-related illness.
The ban on selling flavored tobacco comes at a time when studies are showing how the use of tobacco products and having COVID-19 affects the respiratory system. The use of tobacco products only worsens COVID-19 symptoms. Young people who vape are five to seven times more likely to contract COVID-19, according to a recent press release from San Benito County Public Health Services.
The ban does not include all flavored tobacco products, with exemptions for loose leaf tobacco and “premium cigars.” It also exempts shisha tobacco products, which are smoked in a hookah, a type of water pipe. And it does not ban the sale of flavored marijuana products, which have been legal in California for recreational use since 2018.