Coalition Forms on California Flavor Referendum

In August of 2020 the State of California passed SB 793, prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products and the Governor proceeded to sign it into law on August 28, 2020. Three days later this law was challenged using the state’s veto referendum mechanism before the ban could take effect.

On November 8, 2022, voters will have the opportunity to repeal SB 793. If the voter led referendum is not successful, the existing law will go into effect, prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products starting January 1, 2023. This prohibitionist measure would lead to economic harm for your California small businesses, and directly impact your customer’s product choices. It must be stopped.

The Premium Cigar Association in cooperation with the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Cigar Association of America and the California Association of Retail Tobacconists, along with a coalition of distributors, retailers, consumers and allied businesses, are coming together to mount a public information campaign, so that you can educate your customers as to why this referendum must be defeated!

Although there is an exemption for loose leaf tobacco and premium cigars, it defines a premium cigar as having a $12 wholesale price point – a criteria that has even been rejected at the federal level, and by the scientific community involved in the recent premium cigar study by the National Academy of Science Engineering and Medicine.

In the coming weeks and months, we will distribute updated information that you can share with your customers on this important issue. This referendum sets a problematic and negative national precedent, that even allows local governments to impose “greater restrictions” than those actually included in the legislation. A “Prop Number” will be assigned after the upcoming primaries, and more information will be distributed following that action.

In the meantime, please contact PCA with any questions or need for additional information. This will be an “uphill climb,” but for the sake of protecting your “bottom line,” this effort calls for the support of California small businesses such as yours, and your loyal following of customers.

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