SACRAMENTO – Legislation that passed the California Senate last week is moving to ban tobacco sales from convenience and grocery stores and restrict the sale of tobacco products to cigar shops.
State Senator Bob Wieckowski authored the bill (SB 1400), which would make c-stores and grocery stores ineligible to sell tobacco products by changing the definition of a retail location that’s able to obtain a license to sell tobacco. The bill would change the definition of an eligible retail location to businesses that generate 60% or more of gross revenue annually from tobacco-related products, reports KCRA.com.
“This is a huge step forward in protecting California’s children because 90% of smokers start before they are age 18,” Wieckowski said in a statement.
Sunil Tandel, whose family has owned the Fremont Market in Sacramento for 20 years, told the news source that not being able to sell tobacco products “would be a huge hit” for his business. “The whole convenience factor is out the door,” he said, adding that sales of tobacco products are often accompanied by purchases of other in-store merchandise.
“Once you buy cigarettes, everyone will be like, ‘Oh I need a lighter, oh let me grab some energy drinks or beef jerky, or a lotto ticket,’” Tandel told the news source. “We'd take like a 25% hit just from cigarettes—and then on top of that, whatever else that goes with it.”
E-cigarettes would also be banned from c-stores and grocery stores should the bill become law. If the bill is enacted, it would take effect January 2019.