California Renews Fight Against Big Tobacco as Assembly Approves Historic Tobacco Regulations

Thursday, March 3, 2016

(Sacramento, CA) - Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) today presented on the Assembly floor one bill in a sweeping package to reduce smoking and fight tobacco-related diseases. SBX2 5, authored by Senator Mark Leno, bolsters public health protections by regulating e-cigarettes under the same laws that govern other cigarettes, such as those prohibiting smoking in certain public places, as well as preventing the sale of tobacco products to minors and ensuring adequate enforcement. The bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 50-20.

Assemblymember Rob Bonta supports tobacco prevention efforts during an April 2015 press conference at the California State Capitol.

“E-cigarettes are a significant threat to our health and should be treated as such by the state,” explained Bonta. “The vapor from e-cigarettes contains at least 10 chemicals that are on California’s Proposition 65 list known to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm.

“These negative health impacts become even more troubling when we consider the fact that e-cigarette use has tripled among middle and high school youth in the past year alone. What’s more, e-cigarette marketers are marketing to our youth with names and flavors, such as ‘Gumi Bearz’ and ‘Bubble Gum’. Such advertising is prohibited for other tobacco products and should not be allowed for e-cigarettes.

“If our state ignores these truths about e-cigarettes, we will undermine California’s $2 billion, 25-year effort to reduce tobacco use. We cannot allow our future generations to become addicted to these new and unhealthy tobacco products.

“SBX2 5 simply regulates e-cigarette use in the same manner as other tobacco products, updating state laws and public health protections to keep pace with changing technologies. 

“With the passage of SBX2 5 today, and this historic package of public health bills, California has demonstrated its commitment to our kids, communities, and public health. I’m honored to be a part of this movement to prevent the next generation of tobacco-related tragedies,” Bonta concluded.

Other bills passed as part of the package include ABX2 7 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) to close loopholes in the workplace smoking ban; ABX2 9 by Assemblymembers Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) and Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks) to prohibit tobacco and e-cigarette use on any public school grounds; ABX2 10 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica)  to allow local governments to place tobacco taxes on their local ballots; ABX2 11 by Adrin Nazarian to update  the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act; and  SBX2 7 by Senator Ed Hernández (D-Asuza) to increase the minimum legal age to purchase or consume tobacco from 18 to 21.

Assemblymember Bonta represents the 18th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro. Bonta Chairs the Assembly Health Committee, the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, and in the second Extraordinary Session, the Public Health and Developmental Services Committee. He is also a member of the following committees: Appropriations, Budget, Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services, Joint Legislative Budget, Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, Natural Resources, and Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security.