California Bill Would Eventually Ban Tobacco Entirely
A California assembly member has introduced a bill aimed at forever banning tobacco sales—including handmade cigars—from people born after January 1, 2007. Such a ban, if enacted, would mean that eventually no one in the state of California would be legally allowed to buy cigars or any form of tobacco.
Assembly Bill 935, a phased ban introduced on February 14 by assembly member Damon Connolly, would mean that anyone in California who is presently 16 years old or younger—as well as the future generations yet to be born—could never legally buy a tobacco product in that state. Penalties would be up to $6,000 for repeat offenders and would include loss of a tobacco license.
Connolly is a democrat representing California’s 12th district. He is a member of the California State Assembly who was elected last November. An attorney, he has also served as Vice-Mayor of San Rafael, among other positions.
Around 38 million people presently live in California, the most populous of the United States. The minimum age to buy cigars and other tobacco products in California is presently 21, as it has been in every U.S. state since the law was changed in 2019.
The Premium Cigar Association (PCA) released a statement this morning “calling on all cigar retailers, consumers and those who care about the future of the premium cigar sector in California” to oppose the bill. "We are deeply concerned about AB 935 and any legislation that seeks to restrict the rights of premium cigar smokers," said Joshua Habursky, deputy executive director of the Premium Cigar Association. "These proposals are not based on scientific evidence, but rather on a political agenda that seeks to demonize adult cigar smokers and restrict their freedom to enjoy a legal product. Clearly it is no longer a hidden agenda of the anti-tobacco groups to support full prohibition."
There is precedent for such legislation, but not in the United States. This move would mimic a New Zealand law that since the first of the year has banned tobacco sales to anyone born in or after 2009.
The PCA encouraged those wishing to oppose this bill from becoming law to visit CigarAction.org, a grassroots advocacy platform that enables users to contact their elected officials.
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