California Governor Signs Executive Order Around Vaping

vapor products

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California is the latest state to take action against the growing concerns around electronic cigarettes and vapor products.

On Sept. 16, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order directing the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to launch a $20-million statewide digital and social media public awareness campaign to educate youth, young adults and parents about the health risks of vaping nicotine and cannabis products.

He also tasked CDPH with developing recommendations to reduce smoking among young adults and teens by establishing warning signs with health risks where vaping products are sold and on product advertisements.

"We must take immediate action to meet the urgency behind this public health crisis and youth epidemic," Newsom said. "As a parent, I understand the anxiety caused by the deceptive marketing tactics and flavored options designed to target our kids. With mysterious lung illnesses and deaths on the rise, we have to educate our kids and do everything we can to tackle this crisis.

"There is a broad and bipartisan coalition of legislators seeking to protect our youth, and we are committed to working with the legislature and stakeholders to build on these executive actions and put forward a strong tobacco reform package in 2020," he added.

In addition, the governor signed legislation to impose stricter age verification requirements for tobacco products sold online or by mail. State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) sponsored by the measure, SB 39.

Newsom's executive order includes:

  • Increased enforcement of e-cigarettes: The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) will develop recommendations to remove illegal or counterfeit vaping products from stores and reducing youth vaping consumption through increased enforcement and incorporating nicotine content into the calculation of the existing tax on electronic cigarettes. The department has until Oct. 29 to submit its recommendations to the governor's office.
  • Warning signs at retailers and on advertisements: The CDPH will develop recommendations to reduce the availability of vaping devices to anyone under 21, which includes warning signs about the health risks of vaping at retailers where any vaping product is sold and in any vaping advertisements. This includes increased enforcement regarding sales of vaping products and specifically e-liquid flavors, to youth. The CDPH will also make recommendations on establishing standards for nicotine content and uniform packaging for purposes of including nicotine content in the calculation of the existing tax on electronic cigarettes. The department has until Oct. 14 to submit its recommendations to the governor's office.
  • Program Funds for Vaping Awareness Campaign: The CDPH is immediately directed to allocate at least $20 million in tobacco and cannabis program funds for a vaping awareness campaign, including digital and social media messaging focused on youth, young adults and parents.

Newsom's actions follows vaping moves by several other states, including Michigan and New York.

On Sept. 4, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to issue emergency rules to ban the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products in retail stores and online, and ban misleading marketing of vaping products, including the use of terms like "clean," "safe" and "healthy" that perpetuate beliefs that these products are harmless.

On Sept. 15, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the state Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to meet with the Public Health and Health Planning Council to discuss a possible ban on flavored electronic cigarettes in the state.

Across the Hudson River, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy established the Electronic Smoking Device Task Force to comprehensive strategy to protect New Jersey residents from the hazards of electronic cigarettes.