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California Banned the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products

SB 793 made it illegal for any store that sells tobacco to sell flavored tobacco or tobacco flavor enhancer products

By Chris Micheli, October 5, 2020 2:08 am

The Legislature passed and Governor Newsom signed SB 793 by Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) on August 28 as Chapter 34. The bill, which banned flavored tobacco, added Article 5 (commencing with Section 104559.5) to Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 103 of the Health and Safety Code. Section 1 of the bill added Article 5, which is titled, “Tobacco Sale Prohibition.”

Article 5 begins with Section 104559.5 and subdivision (a) provides numerous definitions of terms used in this article, including:

  • “Characterizing flavor” means a distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, imparted by a tobacco product or any byproduct produced by the tobacco product. Characterizing flavors include, but are not limited to, tastes or aromas relating to any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice. A tobacco product shall not be determined to have a characterizing flavor solely because of the use of additives or flavorings or the provision of ingredient information. Rather, it is the presence of a distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, as described in the first sentence of this definition, that constitutes a characterizing flavor.
  • “Constituent” means any ingredient, substance, chemical, or compound, other than tobacco, water, or reconstituted tobacco sheet, that is added by the manufacturer to a tobacco product during the processing, manufacture, or packing of the tobacco product.
  • “Flavored shisha tobacco product” means any shisha tobacco product that contains a constituent that imparts a characterizing flavor.
  • “Flavored tobacco product” means any tobacco product that contains a constituent that imparts a characterizing flavor.
  • “Hookah” means a type of waterpipe, used to smoke shisha or other tobacco products, with a long flexible tube for drawing aerosol through water. Components of a hookah may include heads, stems, bowls, and hoses.
  • “Hookah tobacco retailer” means a tobacco retailer that is engaged in the retail sale of shisha tobacco products, hookah, and hookah smoking accessories.
  • “Labeling” means written, printed, pictorial, or graphic matter upon a tobacco product or any of its packaging.
  • “Loose leaf tobacco” consists of cut or shredded pipe tobacco, usually sold in pouches, excluding any tobacco product which, because of its appearance, type, packaging, or labeling, is suitable for use and likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as tobacco for making cigarettes, including roll-your-own cigarettes.
  • “Packaging” means a pack, box, carton, or container of any kind, or, if no other container, any wrapping, including cellophane, in which a tobacco product is sold or offered for sale to a consumer.
  • “Premium cigar” means any cigar that is handmade, is not mass produced by use of mechanization, has a wrapper that is made entirely from whole tobacco leaf, and has a wholesale price of no less than twelve dollars ($12). A premium cigar does not have a filter, tip, or nontobacco mouthpiece and is capped by hand.
  • “Retail location” means both of the following: A building from which tobacco products are sold at retail and a vending machine.
  • “Sale” or “sold” means a sale as that term is defined in Section 30006 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
  • “Shisha tobacco product” means a tobacco product smoked or intended to be smoked in a hookah. “Shisha tobacco product” includes, and may be referred to as, hookah tobacco, waterpipe tobacco, maassel, narghile, and argileh. “Shisha tobacco product” does not include any electronic devices, such as an electronic hookah, electronic cigarette, or electronic tobacco product.
  • “Tobacco product” means a tobacco product as defined in paragraph (8) of subdivision (a) of Section 104495, as that provision may be amended from time to time.
  • “Tobacco product flavor enhancer” means a product designed, manufactured, produced, marketed, or sold to produce a characterizing flavor when added to a tobacco product.
  • “Tobacco retailer” means a person who engages in this state in the sale of tobacco products directly to the public from a retail location. “Tobacco retailer” includes a person who operates vending machines from which tobacco products are sold in this state.

Subdivision (b) provides that a tobacco retailer, or any of the tobacco retailer’s agents or employees, are prohibited from selling, offering for sale, or possessing with the intent to sell or offer for sale, a flavored tobacco product or a tobacco product flavor enhancer.

There is a rebuttable presumption that a tobacco product is a flavored tobacco product if a manufacturer or any of the manufacturer’s agents or employees, in the course of their agency or employment, has made a statement or claim directed to consumers or to the public that the tobacco product has or produces a characterizing flavor, including, but not limited to, text, color, images, or all, on the product’s labeling or packaging that are used to explicitly or implicitly communicate that the tobacco product has a characterizing flavor.

Subdivision (c) provides that the prohibition does not apply to the sale of flavored shisha tobacco products by a hookah tobacco retailer if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The hookah tobacco retailer has a valid license to sell tobacco products issued pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 22971.7) of Division 8.6 of the Business and Professions Code.
  • The hookah tobacco retailer does not permit any person under 21 years of age to be present or enter the premises at any time.
  • The hookah tobacco retailer shall operate in accordance with all relevant state and local laws relating to the sale of tobacco products.
  • If consumption of tobacco products is allowed on the premises of the hookah tobacco retailer, the hookah tobacco retailer shall operate in accordance with all state and local laws relating to the consumption of tobacco products on the premises of a tobacco retailer, including, but not limited to, Section 6404.5 of the Labor Code.

Subdivision (d) provides that the prohibition of selling or offering for sale does not apply to sales of premium cigars sold in cigar lounges where products are purchased and consumed only on the premises. In addition, subdivision (e) specifies that the prohibition does not apply to loose leaf tobacco or premium cigars.

Subdivision (f) provides that a tobacco retailer, or agent or employee of a tobacco retailer, who violates this section is guilty of an infraction and shall be punished by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for each violation of this section.

Finally, subdivision (g) provides that this section does not preempt or otherwise prohibit the adoption of a local standard that imposes greater restrictions on the access to tobacco products than the restrictions imposed by this section. To the extent that there is an inconsistency between this section and a local standard that imposes greater restrictions on the access to tobacco products, the greater restriction on the access to tobacco products in the local standard shall prevail.

Section 2 of the bill provides a severability clause, which provides, “The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.”

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5 thoughts on “California Banned the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products

  1. “When people can’t do anything about the real problems, then they fight over the garbage.”

    Evident to even the most dimwitted*, California has some pressing and serious problems that need to be dealt with ASAP. Vaping isn’t one of them.

    The only reason that these otherwise do-nothing clowns keep getting voted in is that the dependent classes of various ethnicities (and their marxist enablers) want to keep up the flow of free goodies.

    It will be interesting to see what becomes of them when the state finishes crumbling around their feet.

    Just a thought.

    VicB3
    *Or maybe not. These public officials – dull normals every one of them – seem oblivious to it all as they traipse about their little privileged bubbles, including their very own private DVM.

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