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2017 Brings Changes In Tobacco Business
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Sellers of electronic cigarettes, vaping devices and other related products, as of the first of the year, are now required to obtain a Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer’s License from the California State Board of Equalization. On May 4, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill No. 5 and Assembly Bill No. 11, requiring electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) be regulated the same as other tobacco products and establishing an annual licensing fee of $265 per location on retailers selling tobacco products.

The City of Riverbank enacted an ordinance in 2015, requiring tobacco retailers to obtain an annual license from the city. This license aims to prevent uncontrolled sales of tobacco and e-cigarette products and prohibits tobacco sales within 500 feet of any school or playground. Furthermore, the cities of Riverbank, Modesto and Hughson have amended the cities’ definition of smoking to include e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine devices, applying all smoking laws to these products.

For 2017, the California Board of Equalization states products requiring licensing will include: any product containing, made or derived from nicotine; any electronic smoking or vaping device that delivers nicotine or other vaporized liquids to the person inhaling from the device; and any component, part or accessory, even if it is sold separately.

According to the author of SB-5, then Senator Mark Leno, California has invested 25 years and $2.5 billion in public health measures aimed at reducing tobacco use; however, that investment is now threatened by a new tobacco product, e-cigarettes. The Department of Public Health reports e-cigarette aerosol contains at least 10 chemicals on California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Despite these potentially serious risks to public health, e-cigarette use is growing in California and nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found more than a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes in 2013. The California State Health Officer notes that use of electronic cigarettes among people between the ages of 18 and 29, tripled in 2014. While California currently bans the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 21, many youth are still able to access the product.

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