→ Referendum; would prohibit the retail sale of certain flavored tobacco products.
This one’s easy. By voting Yes, voters approve the law passed by the state legislature in 2020, which will effectively ban the sale of certain flavored tobacco products.
It’s clear why lawmakers passed legislation to ban flavored tobacco in the first place. The U.S. Surgeon General acknowledges that these flavors are “kid-friendly.” A 2015 article from the Journal of the American Medical Association cites that 4 out of 5 kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product, and a 2021 study by the Centers for Disease Control concluded that 75%-80% of middle school and high school student tobacco users prefer a product with flavoring. The long-lasting and disastrous health consequence of teenage smoking is now well understood. In short, this proposition could save lives.
It’s also equally clear why corporate interests are attempting to block its passage. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Philip Morris USA, and the National Association of Tobacco Outlets have spent over $22 million dollars to challenge the law, since they stand to lose substantial profits. In short, banning flavored tobacco cuts into their financial gains.
Importantly, there’s evidence that suggests that these kinds of bans do work. In fact, several states have already banned flavored tobacco, including New York, where it was found that “teens were 37% less likely to try flavored tobacco four years after the local ban passed” (Source: Kaiser Health News).
As a community, one of our most important charges and responsibilities is to protect and take care of children and youth. We simply cannot allow Big Tobacco to continue to profit off the harm they are perpetuating. This law never should have been blocked and delayed in the first place—but ACCE overwhelmingly urges its passage, and urges a Yes vote on Prop 31.