Kathleen Ronayne, Associated Press
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday he wants to ban flavored e-cigarettes in California, offering words of condemnation to companies that sell the products.
“You don’t have bubblegum-flavored, mango-flavored tobacco unless you’re trying to target an audience that you were losing — that’s young people,” Newsom said at a press conference. “It’s really unconscionable. Folks that are producing those products they sleep at night knowing what they’re doing to destroy the health of a generation.”
Newsom says he can’t act unilaterally, and he’ll need the Legislature to send him a bill first.
The call for a ban comes just days after this year’s legislative session ended. California lawmakers shelved several bills earlier this year that would have reduced or eliminated flavored tobacco products statewide.
In addition to his call for the ban, he announced a $20 million public awareness campaign about the dangers of vaping nicotine and cannabis products and increased efforts to halt the sale of illicit products amid a rise in vaping-related illnesses.
He issued the executive order following hundreds of nationwide vaping illnesses that appear linked to use of cannabis-based oils, though some people reported vaping nicotine products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California has seen at least 63 cases and one of the six deaths reported around the country.
The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network said it is disappointed Newsom’s executive action doesn’t go further.
“Something must be done swiftly and there is no guarantee federal actions will intercede in a timely enough fashion to bring relief to this public health crisis,” said Jim Knox, California managing director of the Cancer Action Network.
President Donald Trump announced plans last week to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
Capital Public Radio's Scott Rodd contributed to this report.