FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 28, 2020
CONTACT: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, jenna@paschalroth.com

WITH GOV. SIGNATURE, CA HAS ONE OF THE STRONGEST ANTI-TOBACCO LAWS IN THE NATION, SAVING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF LIVES

ENDING SALE OF MENTHOL COMES AFTER LONG FIGHT TO SAVE BLACK LIVES

Sacramento, CA – After decades of Big Tobacco’s lies and tricks that have hooked generations of young people on deadly tobacco products, California Governor Gavin Newsom today took decisive action to end the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products – including minty menthol – by signing SB 793 (Hill, D-San Mateo) into law. With the governor’s signature, California will have among the nation’s strongest protections against Big Tobacco’s business model that markets deadly tobacco products to kids, especially in low-income and Black and brown communities.

Newsom’s signature on the bill caps a monumental David v. Goliath fight that united a coalition of health, youth, and community advocates to protect kids from the dangers of tobacco use. The coalition applauded the Governor’s swift signature on this essential legislation that will save over 17,000 lives and taxpayers $800 million of dollars in healthcare costs:

“Despite fierce opposition from Big Tobacco, today Governor Newsom has shown that the truth prevails over lies and underhanded tactics designed to hook our young people on deadly tobacco products,” said Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “With this signature, Newsom sends an unmistakable message to Big Tobacco: your products destroy lives, and we are committed to breaking the cycle of an industry exploiting our lives and health for their profit. We applaud Governor Newsom, author Senator Hill, his legislative co-authors and all of our Heroes for Healthy Kids for their leadership on this crucial legislation. We’re proud to have been a part of this determined coalition that made this victory possible.”

“By signing this historic bill, Governor Newsom has done more to save Black lives than any Governor in recent history,” said Dr. Phillip Gardiner, Co-Chair of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council. “The tobacco industry has lured our kids into addiction for too long, using menthol and other flavors. By signing SB 793 the Governor sent a strong message to the tobacco industry that California’s kids are off-limits.”

“Tobacco use causes nearly a third of all cancer deaths in California,” said American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network California Managing Director Jim Knox. “SB793 puts an end to ‘flavored starter kits’ that threaten to addict the next generation to tobacco and halts the decades of discriminatory marketing of menthol cigarettes that bring death and disease to Black communities. We are grateful Gov. Newsom recognizes the importance of these protections, signing this important legislation into law.”

“Today, Governor Newsom put the health of California’s youth first by signing SB 793 into law. For generations, Big Tobacco has targeted youth with million-dollar marketing campaigns and appealing flavors. Despite the tobacco industry’s deep pockets and deceptive campaigns public health has prevailed. This historic decision will have tremendous health impacts in our state and protect our youth from a lifetime of addiction,” said Kathy Rogers, Executive Vice President, American Heart Association Western States Region.

“The American Lung Association applauds Governor Newsom for his outstanding leadership in signing SB 793 (Hill), critical legislation that will restrict the sale of flavored tobacco across the state,” said Erica Costa, Advocacy Director, American Lung Association in California. “We are in the midst of an e-cigarette epidemic, where 81% of youth who have used e-cigarettes start with a flavored product. This critical piece of legislation is the necessary step we need to protect youth from predatory tobacco companies.”

“CMA applauds Governor Newsom for taking decisive action to end youth tobacco use by signing SB 793,” said CMA President Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D. “Tobacco companies prey on young users – flavors hook kids – and SB 793 is an important step to crack down on teen tobacco use. We are proud to stand with this coalition, the legislature, and the Governor to protect our youth from a new generation of highly addictive tobacco products and put an end to the youth tobacco use epidemic.”

“Thanks to the unwavering leadership of Sen. Hill and the support of everyone involved, kids in California will no longer be subject to Big Tobacco’s blatant agenda to addict our youth to flavored tobacco products,” said Common Sense CEO and Founder James P. Steyer. “California has sent a message that tech companies like JUUL will not act with impunity in California. We encourage leaders around the country to join us in standing up to the industry and protecting our kids.”

“We applaud Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing SB 793. It’s time to stop addiction in young people before it starts and end the tobacco industry’s deceptive tactics that target children and entice them to use their poisonous flavored tobacco products,” said Dr. Richard Nagy, president of the California Dental Association. “Tobacco products are a major contributor to oral cancers, periodontal disease, heart disease and so many more entirely preventable conditions.”

The coalition includes: the Office of Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and Common Sense Kids Action.