Cancer Advocates Say Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order Will Do Little to Curb Youth E-cigarette Epidemic

American Cancer Society Policy Affiliate Urges California to Restrict the Sale of All Flavored Tobacco Products Including Flavored E-cigarettes, Cigars and Menthol Cigarettes

September 16, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –  The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) says today’s executive order by Governor Gavin Newsom does not go far enough in addressing the youth tobacco epidemic and is calling for a comprehensive sales restriction on all flavored tobacco products including candy and fruit flavored e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes as well as flavored cigars and all other flavored tobacco products.

Statement by American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network California Managing Director Jim Knox:

“We are clearly disappointed that Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order does not do more to stem the youth tobacco epidemic. ACS CAN feels strongly a complete sales restriction on all flavored tobacco products is urgently needed. The restrictions should cover candy, fruit and minty e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and any other flavored tobacco products including cigars.

“Some aspects of the executive order may be useful, but we are concerned that leaving flavored tobacco products on store shelves will allow the tobacco industry to prey on kids, enticing them into a potentially lifetime addiction to tobacco. Something must be done swiftly and there is no guarantee any federal actions will intercede in a timely enough fashion to bring relief to this public health crisis. 

“New data release last week by the Food and Drug Administration shows the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey results indicate youth use of e-cigarettes in high school skyrocketed, with a 135 percent increase over the past two years. Preliminary numbers show that an alarming 27.5% of high school students used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. 63.9 percent used mint or menthol, only 2 percent less than fruit and significantly more than candy. 

“Candy, fruit and menthol flavored tobacco products are a key piece of Big Tobacco’s strategy to bait kids into tobacco use—essentially wiping out decades of progress in reducing youth consumption of tobacco. Flavors are driving the e-cigarette epidemic and its unprecedented increase in youth tobacco uptake and the best course of action is to eliminate sales of all flavored tobacco products. That means all flavors and all tobacco products.

“Nearly 40 cities and counties in California have already stepped up to do what the state has not—and that is to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco in their communities.  Every child in every city needs this type of protection.

”ACS CAN was a co-sponsor of both Assembly Bill (AB) 739 and Senate Bill (SB) 38 to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products. Neither bill survived session and ACS CAN pledges to continue to fight to protect kids by urging lawmakers to introduce and pass similar legislation next year that will completely and comprehensively block flavored tobacco from being sold in California.”


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit


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Steph Winn
Director, Regional Media Advocacy
Sacramento, Calif.