Tobacco

Supreme Court Declines to Review California's Flavored Tobacco Ban

Biden-backed federal plan pushed to March
supreme court building
Photograph: Shutterstock

The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 announced it will not hear R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s challengeregarding California’s voter-approved ban on the sale of most flavored tobacco products in the Golden State. 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, whose office defended the law in court, tweeted on Monday “excellent news: the Supreme Court has declined to review big tobacco’s challenge to California’s flavored tobacco ban.

This isn’t the first time the company has faced headwinds regarding the state’s flavored tobacco ban. InDecember 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court justices rejected the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based company’s call for an emergency order blocking a ban on the sale of most flavored tobacco products. 

CSP Daily News reached out to R.J. Reynolds regarding the Supreme Court’s latest rejection, but the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom in August of 2020 signed SB 793, banning most flavored tobacco sales in the state, with exemptions that include premium cigars and pipe tobaccoSeveral tobacco companies, including Reynolds American Inc., challenged the ban.  

“Reynolds is disappointed in the outcome of the referendum,” a company spokesperson toldCSP in 2022. “We believe that adult nicotine consumers deserve product choice and that prohibition laws—like SB 793—do not work in achieving their intended results.” 

Looking to strengthen the ban further, this past October, Newsom signed into law AB 935, which updates SB 793 by “establishing a consistent consequence for violation of the flavored tobacco ban pursuant to the STAKE Act,” according to California State Assemblyman Damon Connolly’s office. AB 935 went into effect this month, it said. 

On the national front, the Biden administration's proposed ban of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars has been pushed to March.

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