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Assemblymember Connolly Authors Phased Ban on Tobacco Products

AB 935 will prohibit retailers from ever selling tobacco products to individuals born in or after 2007

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Assemblymember Damon Connolly introduced AB 935, which would establish a phased tobacco ban for those born on or after January 1st, 2007. While on the Board of County Supervisors for Marin County, Assemblymember Connolly led the effort to pass one of the first bans on flavored tobacco products in California, and is continuing his fight against these lethal products in the legislature.


“We’ve known for fifty years that tobacco products cause cancer, are incredibly addictive, and decrease quality of life” said Assemblymember Connolly. “This phased ban is a forward looking approach to address the widespread issue of youth tobacco addiction. To be clear—this bill will not affect anyone who is currently of legal age and able to purchase tobacco products and will not punish individuals for simply using or possessing these items. By slowing phasing out the use of these harmful products, we can ensure that the next generation children in California do not get addicted to smoking.”


“As a teenager, I believe that it is important for our lawmakers to take action to protect the health and well-being of young people in California,” said Riya Aghi, a student at Marin Academy. “Tobacco use is a major public health issue, and we know that it can have serious, long-term health consequences, including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. I am concerned about the high rates of youth tobacco use in our state and the impact that it has on our health and quality of life. Assembly Bill 935 is an important step towards addressing this issue. By prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to individuals born on or after Jan. 1, 2007, this bill can help prevent a new generation from becoming addicted to tobacco and suffering the negative health consequences that come with it. I believe this is a sensible measure that can help protect young people from the harmful effects of tobacco use. I encourage lawmakers to listen to the voices of young people in California who support this bill and take action to reduce youth tobacco use. By passing AB 935, we can create a healthier, more equitable future for all Californians”.


According to the Center for Disease Control, preventing tobacco product use among youth is critical to ending the tobacco epidemic in the United States. Tobacco product use is started and established primarily during adolescence. Nearly 9 out of 10 adults who smoke cigarettes daily first try smoking by age 18, and 99% first try smoking by age 26. Each day in the U.S., about 1,600 youth smoke their first cigarette and nearly 200 youth start smoking every day. In 2022, about 4 of every 100 middle school students (4.5%) and about 1 of every 6 high school students (16.5%) reported current use of a tobacco product. There are many factors associated with youth tobacco product use, including social and physical environments, biological and genetic factors, mental health, and personal views. Numerous countries have introduced legislation similar to AB 935, including Norway, New Zealand, and the Philippines. A phased tobacco sales ban was also introduced in Brookline, Massachusetts. This was upheld by the Superior Court on October 17, 2022, which granted the town’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to block the bylaw.


Additionally, as of January 1, 2023, 247 municipalities throughout the United States have implemented a total sales ban on tobacco products. While use of tobacco products among middle and high school students decreased between 2019 and 2020, the CDC highlights the importance of continuing the work to prevent and reduce the use of all forms of tobacco product use among youth. According to a study by Tobacco Free Kids, 441,000 kids now under 18 in California will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined — and thousands more die from other tobacco-related causes — such as fires caused by smoking (more than 1,000 deaths/year nationwide) and smokeless tobacco use.


AB 935 now sits in the Assembly Rules Committee awaiting to be referred to its first policy committee.