A bill has been proposed in New Mexico that if passed would ban the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products in New Mexico.
Rep. Joanne Ferrary, D-Las Cruces, has introduced H.B. 94, which would ban the sale of tobacco and vaping products that have a characterizing flavor other than that of tobacco. Last year, Ferrary introduced a bill that would have dramatically increased the taxes on cigars; ultimately, that bill failed to clear committee.
The bill defines those terms as:
“characterizing flavor” means a distinguishable taste or aroma or both, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, imparted by a tobacco product or any byproduct produced by the tobacco product. A tobacco product shall not be determined to have a characterizing flavor solely because of the use of additives or flavorings or the provision of ingredient information;
“flavored tobacco product” means any tobacco product that contains any ingredient, substance, chemical or compound, other than tobacco, water or reconstituted tobacco sheet that is added by the manufacturer to a tobacco product during the processing, manufacture or packing of a tobacco product, that imparts a characterizing flavor;
In Massachusetts, the exemption allows for specialty cigar lounges to continue to sell flavored cigars, while California’s allows for flavored cigars that have a wholesale price of $12 to continue to be sold.
Companies have taken different approaches in response to the bans, but their impacts are being felt. For example, Drew Estate announced that it would no longer sell three lines—Ambrosia, Isla del Sol and Tabak Especial—to California retailers. That said, the company is still selling its popular ACID line. Drew Estate told retailers it believes that the rest of its portfolio would not be banned in California “as they do not have a distinguishable taste or aroma that could be deemed a ‘characterizing flavor.'”
Meanwhile, some cigarette companies have responded to the California law by replacing menthol cigarettes with new cigarettes that are said to contain a synthetic cooling agent that could produce a similar effect as menthol.
Last year, the FDA announced that it is starting the process of trying to ban the sales of flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes. It’s unclear how long that process might take or whether it will survive court challenges.