R.J. Reynolds loses challenge to LA County’s flavored tobacco ban
A Pasadena appeals court Friday affirmed a Los Angeles County ban on sales of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products.
A split panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act allows the county’s ban on certain tobacco products, striking down a challenge by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and other companies.
The tobacco companies unsuccessfully argued that the TCA allows state and local governments to set certain requirements for tobacco sales, but it does not allow local authorities to prohibit sales outright.
California’s statewide law stopping the sale of flavored tobacco will go before voters for approval in November. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in October 2019 to adopt the ordinance.
“This decision is a green light for states and local governments around the nation to take lifesaving action to prevent children from being hooked on candy-flavored vapes and minty menthol cigarettes,” said Meredith Berkman, co-founder of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes.
“Today’s ruling sends a strong message that our courts won’t let Big Tobacco use frivolous lawsuits to delay actions to protect our kids from a lifetime of costly, deadly tobacco addiction.”
According to the anti-vaping group, evidence shows that menthol makes it easier for kids to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit.