Big tobacco is fighting back against a statewide ban on flavored tobacco and menthol products through the collection of signatures on a petition designed to delay the law until 2022. Senate Bill 793 passed the state legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on August 28 and is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2021. Supporters of SB 793 are questioning the methods of how the signatures are being collected.
Coincidentally, the complaints of the signature gatherers come from individuals who have closely worked to implement SB 793, going so far as to record the signature gatherers discussing the petition.
The complaints filed with Secretary of State Alex Padilla include videos, and photos of a table with a “Ban Vape Flavors” but no proof the individuals were hired by the California Coalition for Fairness.
“We have not heard any such complaint, other than the distortions from opponents who conveniently fail to mention that their so-called flavor ban exempts expensive flavored cigars for the wealthy and reduces funding for healthcare and education,” said Beth Miller, spokeswoman for the group.
The crux of the argument centers around stopping sales of vape and flavored tobacco to minors, which has consequences for adults who will lose access to these products as a direct result of the ban.
2UrbanGirls has personally observed petition gatherers in South Central Los Angeles, and when presented with the petition, we ask what are we signing for.
“The petition is to stop the ban of menthol and flavored tobacco,” said the unidentified worker.
When you look at the header of the petition you are signing it clearly states “Referendum Against SB 793 Related to Flavor Tobacco Products”. It goes further to state the referendum is challenging a 2020 law prohibiting sale of certain tobacco products.
Is it too far of a stretch to think these individuals being cited in the complaint are actors working on behalf of the supporters of SB 793?