SAN DIEGO — Proposition 31 would prohibit in-person stores and vending machines in California from selling certain flavored tobacco products.

In 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law banning the retail sale of most flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers, but it did not go into effect because a referendum on the law qualified for the ballot, according to the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office. That meant the law had to be held until voters decide whether to put it into effect.

Flavored tobacco products — including cigarettes, cigarillos and electronic cigarettes — are any that have a taste or aroma apart from that of tobacco, such as fruit, mint, honey, chocolate or vanilla, the text of the proposed law states. The proposition would not ban shisha (hookah) tobacco sold and used at the store, certain cigars or loose-leaf tobacco. Stores and vending machines would face a $250 penalty for each violation.

The California General Election Official Voter Information Guide details what a Yes or No vote on Prop. 31 would mean on Nov. 8:

  • If voting YES: In-person stores and vending machines could not sell most flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers;
  • If voting NO: In-person stores and vending machines could continue to sell flavored tobacco products and tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers, as allowed under other federal, state and local rules.

Those who support Prop. 31 say it would save lives and protect children, stating that most kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product. They also say it would “save taxpayers money by preventing tobacco related healthcare expenses.”

Those against Prop. 31 claim the bill proposition is “adult prohibition” and will cost taxpayers $1 billion over four years.