Law Ending the Sale of Most Flavored Tobacco Products in California to Take Effect Despite Big Tobacco’s Efforts to Block It

Sacramento, Calif. – December 20, 2022 – A California law ending the sale of menthol cigarettes and most other flavored tobacco products, takes effect on Wednesday, December 21 despite the tobacco industry’s attempts to stop its implementation.

In 2020, the State Legislature passed the popular and bipartisan law aiming to reduce youth tobacco use initiation and address the health disparities driven by Big Tobacco’s predatory practices to addict Black, LGBTQ and limited-income communities. California voters approved Proposition 31 this November to uphold the measure.

“California voters gave a resounding no to one of Big Tobacco’s most depraved practices: using fruit- and candy-flavored products to lure kids into a potential lifetime of addiction,” said Jim Knox, California managing director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Over 2.5 million U.S. middle and high school students use e-cigarettes and research shows that flavors drive youth tobacco use, with 81% of kids who have ever tried tobacco starting with a flavored product. The epidemic rates of youth tobacco use we see across the country are the industry’s expected result.”

Following the election, the tobacco industry bypassed usual federal court processes by requesting an emergency stay directly from the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent the law from taking effect. The Supreme Court denied the petition last week, clearing the way for the law’s implementation.

“The Supreme Court’s rejection of Big Tobacco’s desperate and deplorable attempt to stop this lifesaving law from taking effect is a huge win for our cancer mission,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “While the industry repeatedly pursues legal challenges to delay or thwart policies aiming to protect our communities from the scourges of tobacco use, ACS CAN will continue to vigorously defend this law to ensure it can save lives from cancer caused by tobacco use as intended.”

Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S. and smoking is now linked to at least 15 types of cancers, including lung, liver and colorectal cancers. Free resources on quitting smoking can be found at or through the American Cancer Society’s cessation service, Empowered to Quit program.

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