A new bill introduced in the Texas Senate would ban the sale of all flavored tobacco and vaping products.

Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, has introduced S.B. 920, which would ban the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products in the state. Per the bill, a product is defined as flavored if it is a “product with a distinguishable taste or aroma other than the taste or aroma of tobacco…” Interestingly, the bill also includes a “rebuttable presumption” clause which states that if a company publicly says that one of these products “imparts a taste or smell other than the taste or smell of tobacco,” including by using text or images on the product labels, that the product would then be deemed flavored and sales would be banned.

Like most flavored tobacco bans, S.B. 920 would not make fine consumers for purchasing, possessing or consuming these products; however, the bill would make it illegal to give one of these products to someone else.

There are no exemptions of any kind.

While flavor bans have been proposed in a variety of states in early 2023, California and Massachusetts are the only states with bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products, though both bans have exemptions for some flavored cigar sales.

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.

Earlier this year, the head of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said the agency hoped to announce a nationwide ban on flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes in the fall of 2023.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.