Election results 2022 California - AP projects: Californians pass Prop 31, upholding ban on certain flavored tobacco
AP projects California residents have upheld a ban on certain flavored tobacco products.
California lawmakers passed the ban two years ago, claiming that fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes, vape pods and chewing tobacco encouraged teens to get hooked on nicotine. According to the official ballot argument, supporters claimed that 80% of kids who have smoked started with a flavored tobacco product.
However, tobacco companies successfully blocked the 2020 law from going into effect which put the issue to voters.
"Many will say that big tobacco is attempting to undo the will of the people by overturning something that was already passed by the legislature," said Dr. Sara Sadhwani, a professor of politics at Pomona College.
The passage of Proposition 31 reaffirms the law, banning the sale of almost all flavored tobacco products at stores and vending machines. This law does not apply to hookah lounges that sell flavored tobacco to be used inside the store. It also excludes certain cigars and loose-leaf tobacco from the ban.
"Prop 31 was put on the ballot by the tobacco industry, by Phillip Morris and R.J. Reynolds," said Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson. "They've already put $22 million in to support this measure. They're really obviously against the ban on flavored tobacco."
Phillip Morris and R.J Reynolds are two of the biggest tobacco companies in the world.
The state's non-partisan legislative analyst said that the measure will reduce tobacco tax revenues by, at most, $100 million. In 2021, California raked in about $2 billion in tobacco tax revenue.
Dozens of cities and counties have already passed a ban on flavored tobacco products.
Opponents of the measure claimed that Prop 31 would institute a prohibition on tobacco products and would cede more power to criminals smuggling in flavored tobacco products.
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