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CALIFORNIA TOBACCO CONTROL BRANCH

California Prohibits Retailers from Selling Flavored Tobacco Products

Attention Retailers

On November 8, 2022, California voters upheld the state law, Senate Bill (SB) 793 (Chapter 34, Statutes of 2020), prohibiting tobacco retailers from selling most flavored tobacco products. Please visit the Secretary of State’s website for more information on the election results. 

What is the law?

The state law prohibits the sale of most flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes, as well as tobacco product flavor enhancers in retail locations, including stores and vending machines, in California. (Health and Safety Code Section 104559.5)

Kids using Flavor Tobacco

​What Retailers Should Know

Retailers, their agents or their employees will be found guilty of an infraction and fined $250 for violation of this law.

The penalties apply to retailers, their agents or their employees who sell, offer for sale, or posses with intent to sell or offer for sale most flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes that deliver nicotine or other vaporized liquids and  menthol cigarettes, as well as tobacco product flavor enhancers.

This law does not punish or criminalize anyone for purchasing, using, or possessing with the intent to use a flavored tobacco product or tobacco product flavor enhancer. 

The law does not apply to flavored premium cigars with a wholesale price of $12 or more and flavored loose-leaf pipe tobacco. Flavored shisha/hookah tobacco may only be sold in licensed stores that only allow people 21 or older on the premises at any time. Licensed stores must also operate in accordance with all state or local laws relating to the sale of tobacco and consumption of tobacco on the premises (for hookah retailers that permit consumption of tobacco on the premises).

Local jurisdictions  may have more restrictive laws. It is the retailer’s responsibility to know and comply with all federal, state and local laws regarding the sale and distribution of tobacco products.

Legislation 

SB 793 (Hill, Chapter 34, Statute of 2020)

Flavored tobacco products: prohibits the sale of most flavored tobacco products, including  flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes, as well as tobacco product flavor enhancers, at retail locations in California. 

Quitting Tobacco Resources 

Help others quit smoking and vaping tobacco products.

For free quit help:

Retailer Information and Resources 

Letter to Retailers from the California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer 2022 (PDF)  

The letter to retailers from CDPH Director provides a summary to retailers, wholesalers and distributors, a reminder that California law prohibits the sale of most flavored tobacco products at the retail level, and references to additional materials to help retailers comply.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): California’s Flavored Tobacco Sales Law 2023 (PDF )

This document responds to questions retailers may have about changes to state tobacco sales laws.

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California’s Flavored Tobacco Sales Law (Fact Sheet 2022 (PDF)

This document provides information on how the law affects retailers.

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Learn more about the new law

  • For more information about the new law, go to UNDO.org.

Media Inquiries


Questions

For information on retail educational materials and signage:

California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program,

CTCPInbox @cdph.ca.gov

916-449-5500

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For information about tobacco retail licensing and fees:

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration

General, Non-Confidential Tax Questions Form

1-800-400-7115 (select the “Cigarette and Tobacco Products”​ option).

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For information about retail law enforcement and compliance:

California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch

Food and Drug Branch Tobacco Enforcement

916-650-6500

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