Proposition 31: Flavored Tobacco Products Ban Referendum
Available once the California Secretary of State has certified the election. This can take up to 3 weeks or more.
Yes votes: 6,803,359 (63.4%)
No votes: 3,923,359 (36.6%)
Proposition 31 would prohibit the retail sale of certain flavored tobacco products (including, but not limited to, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and snuff) and tobacco flavor enhancers. Proposition 31 is a referendum on 2019-2020 California SB 793, the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act. In 2020, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law—CA Senate Bill (SB) 793—to ban in-person stores and vending machines from selling most flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers. The law also provides a definition of flavored tobacco products, and imposes a $250 penalty against stores and vending machine owners for each violation of the law’s requirements.
This law did not go into effect because a referendum on the law qualified for this ballot. When a referendum on a new state law qualifies for the ballot, the law is on hold until voters decide whether to put it into effect.
According to the California Legislative Analyst’s office: Proposition 31 likely would reduce state tobacco tax revenues by an amount ranging from tens of millions of dollars to around $100 million annually. Programs that could be impacted due to reduced tax revenue include health care, early childhood care, tobacco control, and medical research. The loss of tax revenue will depend on how consumers respond to this ban of flavored tobacco products.
The LAO also notes there are uncertain changes possible to State and Local Government Health Care Costs. Proposition 31 likely would reduce tobacco use, leading to better health. In the short term, better health likely would reduce some health care costs for state and local governments. The amount of savings is uncertain. Over time, better health could lengthen some people’s lives, which could increase health care costs.
What your vote means
According to the California State Legislative Analyst’s office:
A YES vote means that SB 793 goes into effect. This means: In-person stores and vending machines could not sell most flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers.
A NO vote means that SB 793 does not go into effect. This means: In-person stores and vending machines could continue to sell flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers, as allowed under other federal, state, and local rules.
Official Voter Information
- California Secretary of State, Quick Reference Guide Prop. 31
- California Secretary of State, Official Voter Information Guide
- California Legislative Analyst's Office, Proposition 31
- California Secretary of State, Cal-Access: Campaign contributions
- California Fair Political Practices Commission, November 2022 General Election Top Contributors to State Ballot Propositions
Berkeley IGS Poll, November 4, 2022
The proponents say that Proposition 31 is another attempt by big tobacco companies to overturn a law that protects our youth by ending the sale of candy- flavored tobacco products that lures them into life-long addiction to nicotine. Additionally, it prevents big tobacco from causing more harm to black communities that buy menthol flavored tobaccos. It will help decrease smoking rates especially among youth.
Opponents claim that Proposition 31 takes away adults' rights to choose to use flavored tobacco products. They also argue that people will buy flavored tobacco products illegally, taking money away from local businesses and will lead to more crime due to illegal sales of these products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who regulates tobacco and vapor products, has banned many flavored tobacco products, but Prop. 31 goes too far—banning the sale of flavored reduced-risk, smoke-free products authorized by the FDA “appropriate for the protection of public health” for adults 21 and over.
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