Leading up to the City of Sacramento’s local ban of flavored tobacco products in spring 2019, the cancer center hosted an educational roundtable with academic and community partners, including partners from the African American community who wanted menthol cigarettes banned in the new law. As a result of targeted marketing, more than 80% of African Americans who smoke use menthol-flavored cigarettes, leading to high rates of lung cancer in these communities.

In the fall of 2019, UC Davis internist and tobacco expert Elisa Tong was invited to present at a joint committee hearing of the California Assembly about flavored tobacco products and vaping at the height of the EVALI (E-cigarette Vaping Associated Lung Injury) epidemic. During the last legislative session, state lawmakers passed restrictions on the sale of most flavored tobacco products in California, a ban that was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.