Welcome To New Jersey sign in front of the New Jersey Department of Transportation Headquarters in Ewing, New Jersey by Famartin is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Ahead of Thursday’s Assembly Health Committee meeting, ATR wrote to lawmakers on the Committee, urging them to consider the consequences of passing AB 1989, a bill that would prohibit all non-tobacco flavors in tobacco products and reduced risk alternatives like e-cigarettes. ATR Director of Consumer Issues Tim Andrews authored the letter and warned legislators of the harm that would befall their citizens, businesses, and tax revenues should they move forward with the legislation. 

“In addition to the public health disaster that reducing access to reduced risk tobacco alternatives will unleash,”, Andrews wrote, “these proposals would also have devastating consequences on businesses, at a time when they can afford it least. It would kill thousands of jobs and would cost business owners their livelihood. AB 1989’s total economic cost would be devastating.” 

Andrews’ letter discussed case studies from San Francisco and Massachusetts, writing “Before San Francisco’s flavor ban, the city had lower youth smoking rates than comparable counties including New York and Los Angeles. After the flavor ban, San Francisco’s youth smoking rate rose to 6.2% while comparable districts fell to an average rate of 2.8%.  

“Despite cigarette sales actually increasing in the region, a clear sign that the flavor ban did nothing to decrease smoking rates, the fiscal loss to Massachusetts, already amid a fiscal crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, was a staggering $73,008,000 in just the first six months of the ban.” 

The full letter can be read here.