“Compliant” Cigarettes Violate Flavor Ban, Says California AG
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has warned R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and ITG Brands that their menthol-like flavored cigarettes violate the state’s new law prohibiting sales of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.
“The Tobacco Unit of the California Department of Justice has reviewed referred packaging and promotional materials for several of your company’s products—Camel Crush Oasis Silver, Camel Crush Oasis Blue, and Camel Crush Oasis Green and determined that each of these reviewed products is presumptively flavored under the California flavor ban law,” Bonta wrote in letters to Reynolds.
Following the enactment of California’s flavor ban, Reynolds and ITG Brands introduced cigarettes with a cooling flavor similar to that provided by menthol cigarettes. The products have been marketed with slogans such as “tropical oasis,” “new fresh taste” and “a taste that satisfies the senses.”
According to RJR, its new products don’t violate California law because they don’t have a distinguishable taste or aroma other than tobacco. California law defines a flavored tobacco product as any product that has a “distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, imparted by a tobacco product or any byproduct produced by the tobacco product.”
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauded Bonta’s actions. “Policymakers at every level must stand up to the tobacco industry by adopting and fully enforcing measures to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes,” wrote CTFK President Matthew L. Myers in a statement.
State legislators approved California’s law prohibiting flavored tobacco sales in 2020 and the ban was upheld by 63 percent of the state’s voters in 2022.