New cigarettes might violate California’s flavored tobacco ban

California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta has issued warnings to 2 tobacco corporations, stating that they might be in violation of the state’s ban on flavored merchandise, a measure upheld by practically two-thirds of voters final 12 months.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and ITG Manufacturers acquired letters dated April 25 from the Tobacco Unit of the California Division of Justice notifying the businesses that packaging and promotional supplies for 9 reformulated variations of Camel, Newport and Kool cigarettes violated the state legislation and are presumed to be flavored.

“As a part of Atty. Gen. Bonta’s struggle to guard the well being and security of California’s youth, and to hold out the need of the folks, our workplace continues to research tobacco merchandise which will run afoul of that legislation,” a spokesperson for Bonta mentioned in an e mail assertion.

The businesses have 60 days to reply to the letters, they usually indicated they’d, in accordance with the spokesperson.

The 2022 legislation banned the sale of sure flavored tobacco merchandise in shops and merchandising machines, aiming to discourage use amongst youngsters by eliminating kid-friendly flavors similar to bubblegum, cotton sweet and cherry.

Lawmakers authorised the statewide ban regardless of lobbying by the tobacco business. The marketing campaign in opposition to the flavour ban raised hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, together with funds from R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris USA.

In accordance with the legislation, a tobacco product could possibly be presumed flavored if it seems that the producer made such claims by means of the labeling or packaging of its objects.

The letter despatched to R.J. Reynolds acknowledged that the corporate used model names, textual content and colours which might be “historically” related to menthol-flavored tobacco merchandise. The reviewed merchandise additionally included a nontobacco “capsule” that the labeling indicated would produce a distinct style.

Promotional materials for the merchandise prompt that these cigarettes would style or odor in a different way from a solely tobacco-flavored product, the letter acknowledged. The merchandise have been focused at customers of menthol-flavored tobacco merchandise and promoted instead, the letter mentioned.

An R.J. Reynolds spokesperson mentioned in an e mail assertion that the letters have been “issued in error” and that the merchandise listed by the state lawyer basic didn’t have any “distinguishable style or aroma aside from tobacco.”

“We market these merchandise to obviously point out that they’re nonmenthol,” in accordance with the assertion. “The letters merely presume that the merchandise have a characterizing taste based mostly solely upon the overview of packaging and promotional supplies, not the merchandise themselves.

“We stand by our merchandise and can reply to the letters appropriately to make sure these lawful merchandise stay obtainable on the market.”

ITG Manufacturers didn’t reply for remark.

In 2022, 16.5% of highschool and 4.5% of center college college students — or 3.08 million — reported utilizing a tobacco product within the final 30 days, in accordance with the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration. A lot of the college students used flavored e-cigarettes, with fruit flavors being the most well-liked, in accordance with the survey.

Massachusetts turned the primary state in 2019 to ban the sale of flavored tobacco merchandise. New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have banned flavored e-cigarettes.

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