We will discuss a Senate bill today that could have an impact on the vape market. This post will cover:

  1. The Bill’s main terms are defined.
  2. Who are the leaders, and what do they do?
  3. What is the impact of this on the vape industry?

What the Bill entails

The California Senate introduced Senate Bills 38 & 39 on December 3, 2018. These bills will be law once they are passed. This will affect retailers all over California. This Bill prohibits tobacco retailers from selling, offering to sell, or possessing flavored tobacco products with the intention to do so. It also requires vendors to use “conspicuously-marked containers” and to obtain the signature of an adult 21 years or older when delivering their products. We will now break down this Bill to better understand what it is trying to accomplish.

According to the Health and Safety Code of California, any tobacco product that is intended for consumption by humans is one that contains, is made of, or is derived from nicotine or tobacco. According to the FDA, tobacco products include cigars and cigarettes, as well as dissolvables like hookah, nicotine gels for pipe tobacco, or smokeless tobacco. They also have roll-your-tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery devices (e-cigarettes, Hookah pens, vapes), and electronic nicotine delivery methods. The list is extensive. It’s important to note that electronic nicotine delivery devices do not use tobacco but deliver nicotine. They are, therefore, included in this category.

Retailers who make their living by selling tobacco products won’t be allowed to sell flavored products at the store or vending machines. California’s definition of flavor includes, but is not restricted to, the following: “tastes and aromas related to any fruit, such as chocolate, vanilla, honey or cocoa; desserts, alcohol beverages, menthol or mint; wintergreen or herb or spice.” The packaging is also affected by this rule.

Who is leading it?

Jerry Hill, a California state senator, is the primary author of this legislation. He was elected senator in 2012. He represents District 13. The district includes cities such as Foster City, Los Altos, and San Mateo. This Bill was co-authored by him and several other Senators, as well as members of the Assembly. Senator Hill stated in a press statement that “High school and middle-school students across the U.S. vape in record numbers, enticed by candy, fruit and other attractive flavors.” His goal was to keep all nicotine and tobacco products out of the hands and reach of minors. This post shows how parents and retailers are saying No2Minors. This Bill will affect both small business owners who want to keep children away from these products and adults trying to stay away from combustible products.



The tobacco industry is a very competitive business. Retailers thrive by providing the most advanced technology to encourage traditional smokers away from tobacco. Senator Hill stated in an interview with The Sacramento Bee that he was aware of the fact that adults who had been purchasing these products legally would be affected by a ban on all flavors. It could mean a big setback for people who use flavored electronic devices as a way to reduce traditional smoking.

Californian business owners would be affected by this flavor ban. If the Bill passes, many business owners fear that they will have to close their doors or face serious financial consequences. Doug Shaw, the owner of Sanctuary Tobacco, San Luis Obispo, told The Sacramento Bee that if California legislators passed these laws, he’d likely retire. The industry must take responsibility for its products, but strict rules could have negative effects on small businesses. California is a tough place to run and start a small company. California has more regulations for entrepreneurs than any other state in the U.S.

S.B. 38 and S.B. 39 will have a wide-ranging impact on the vape market. If it passes, this is an issue that will be implemented in the coming year. Will this setback California’s progress in a society without traditional tobacco? What do you think of these Senate bills? Do you have any friends or family members who own businesses that may be affected by these bills?

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