Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Modoral, which makes flavored nicotine lozenges called Velo, and Neighborhood Market Association, a San Diego trade group that represents vape shops and others.
“Time and time again, Big Tobacco has attempted to steam roll state efforts to protect our youngest residents from the damaging effects of tobacco use,” Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general, said in a statement. “While we have not yet been formally served with the lawsuit, we look forward to vigorously defending this important law in court.”
Spending to promote Proposition 31, the ballot initiative on the state’s law, totaled $29 million in support of the ban, eclipsing that of the opposition, which amounted to $2 million, according to records from the California secretary of state’s office. The bulk of the funding to support the ban came from Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York who has long backed antismoking measures and other public health initiatives.
Reynolds’s share of menthol cigarette sales in the United States is nearly 60 percent, according to an estimate by Bonnie Herzog, a research director at Goldman Sachs.
On Tuesday, Reynolds unveiled new ads for its Camel brand, showing “crush oasis” and another non-menthol cigarette type “offering a crisp smoking experience.” The ads specifically referred to the California ban, saying: “We know it’s tough. That’s why we crafted two new non-menthol styles for you to choose from.”
In April, the F.D.A. announced that it would move toward a measure banning sales of menthol cigarettes, but it could be years for such a significant public health initiative to be put in place.
Menthol bans would significantly affect Black smokers, nearly 85 percent of whom reported in a government survey that they favored menthol cigarettes, compared with 29 percent of white smokers. The agency is evaluating tens of thousands of comments that poured in over its proposal and is expected to issue a rule on it next year.