Long Beach is not going to wait for the state of California to ban flavored tobacco products.
Yesterday, the Long Beach City Council unanimously passed a first vote to extend a 2020 temporary flavored tobacco ban to become a permanent one. This move seems directly in response to the delay of enforcement of California’s flavored tobacco ban.
There will be exemptions for hookah tobacco as well as some “premium” flavored cigars, specifically premium cigars that cost at least $12 wholesale. This mirrors language that was included in SB 793, a bill that was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year. That law is subject to a ballot referendum and is currently not enforced. It will be considered by voters next November. If passed, the law will go into effect in December 2022. The law is also subject to a variety of lawsuits.
Given the wholesale price requirements of $12 and California’s current tax rate of 56.93 percent, the $12 wholesale requirement means that legal flavored premium cigars would start at $37 in Long Beach if retailer’s used normal margins for those products.
Long Beach’s flavored tobacco ban will still need to pass another vote and then the city is planning a three-month grace period before the law takes effect so that retailers have time to move their current inventory of flavored tobacco products.
The city of Long Beach is located on the California coast due south of downtown Los Angeles. It has a population of around 450,000 people.