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California Lawmakers OK Ban Of Most Flavored Tobacco

SACRAMENTO (AP) - The California Legislature has voted to ban the sale of most flavored tobacco products in the state.

The California Senate voted 34-0 on Friday to send the bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk. The bill would not make it a crime to possess flavored tobacco products. But it would be illegal to sell them. Retailers could be fined up to $250.

The bill is aimed at preventing children from smoking. It's already illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under 21. But advocates say flavored tobacco products are still too easy for teens to get.

The bill authored by Sen. Jerry Hill does not ban all flavored tobacco products. It excludes loose leaf tobacco and "premium cigars," defined as as any cigar not mass produced by a machine, has a wrapper made entirely from whole tobacco leaf and costs at least $12. It also exempts shisha tobacco products, which are smoked in a hookah, a type of water pipe.

Retailers opposed the bill, saying they follow the law and do not sell to minors. They worry banning the products will hurt their business. Hill said the bill will "protect the health and well-being of our kids."

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.

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