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Sacramento, CA – A coalition of health, youth, and community advocates united to protect kids from the dangers of tobacco use applauded passage by the California State Senate of SB 793, landmark legislation authored by State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) to end the sale of all candy-flavored tobacco products across the state, including the original candy flavor: sweet minty menthol cigarettes.

“Using candy, fruit and other alluring flavors, the tobacco industry weaponized its tactics to beguile a new generation into nicotine addiction while keeping longtime users hooked. SB 793 breaks Big Tobacco’s death grip,” said state Senator Jerry Hill, (D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties). “I am deeply grateful for the support from our lieutenant governor, the more than 40 state legislators and the strong coalition of health, youth and education advocates who have made it possible for SB 793 to advance. Together we can enact the strongest flavored tobacco policy in the country.”

“The California State Senate is sending a clear message to Big Tobacco that our children’s health is more important than a deadly industry’s profit margins,” said Annie Tegan, advocacy director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “By taking action to end the sale of sweet minty menthol cigarettes, the original candy-flavored product, the legislature will save 17,000 precious lives, and more than $800 million in healthcare costs. We’re now calling on the California Assembly to stand up for our kids, especially in vulnerable communities of color, and finally stop Big Tobacco’s playbook from exploiting our health for their profit.”

“The American Heart Association commends the California State Senate for taking the necessary steps to ensure we don’t lose a new generation of kids to nicotine addiction by voting in favor of SB 793,” said Sacramento Division Board Chairman Garry Maisel. “Tobacco products are available in thousands of appealing flavors, including fruit, candy, and minty menthol. These products are heavily marketed to youth as well as the African American and Latinx Communities. This has fueled an epidemic of youth smoking with more than five million middle and high school students reporting they use e-cigarettes, according to the CDC’s 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey. We urge the California Assembly to continue this progress and vote to rid the Golden State of harmful flavored tobacco products.”

“We are pleased to see SB 793 pass the Senate floor today and move to the Assembly. In the last two years alone, youth e-cigarette has increased by 135% – it’s time to end the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products and menthol cigarettes for good, said Erica Costa, Advocacy Director, American Lung Association in California. “This public health measure is critical to protect public health, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Policies aimed at protecting lung health have never been more relevant.”

“SB 793 will stop the predatory practices of tobacco companies and protect our youth from a new generation of highly addictive tobacco products,” said California Medical Association President Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D. “We look forward to the Assembly passing this important legislation, and adopting a tobacco policy for California that puts public health above profits.”

“As dentists, we too often see the scourge of what smoking and vaping can do to a person’s oral health,” said Richard Nagy, D.D.S. “CDA strongly supports measures to reduce the consumption of any type of inhaled nicotine product, so we applaud the state Senate for passing this important public health measure.”

SB 793 now moves to the Assembly.

The coalition includes sponsors of SB 793: the Office of Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and Common Sense Kids Action.