by Cheryl K. Olson, M.P.H., Sc.D. Originally featured by the Tobacco Reporter

As a California resident, I set aside an evening before every state election to educate myself about that year’s crop of “propositions”–proposed policies that have gathered enough signatures from registered voters to place on the ballot. This year’s motley assortment addressed kidney dialysis centers, arts and music education, online gambling … and flavored tobacco products. The brief text on my ballot stated that a “yes” vote would approve a stalled 2020 law prohibiting retail sale of certain flavored tobacco products. And this would decrease state tobacco tax revenues as much as $100 million per year.

The California ban includes all flavored tobacco products (aside from premium cigars, loose leaf tobacco and certain hookah tobacco) as well as flavor enhancers designed to be added to tobacco products. Bans of flavored vaping products are now in effect in states such as Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. New York bans both flavors and online sales (five states ban online sales but not flavors). Various cities and counties, including Chicago and Boulder, Colorado, also forbid flavors.

This led me to wonder about the purpose of laws prohibiting flavors in various types of nicotine products. Are flavor bans a useful way to achieve tobacco policy goals? And what unintended consequences might result?

Read the full article on Tobacco Reporter

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