Los Angeles Bans Sale of Flavored Tobacco

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    The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to end the sale of nontobacco-flavored tobacco products—including flavored e-cigarettes, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

    The council’s action will make Los Angeles the largest city in the country to end the sale of flavored tobacco products, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). Los Angeles joins over 120 California communities that have taken similar action.

    The legislation will now move to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is expected to sign it, according to Filter. If passed, the ban would go into effect in January 2023.

    Mitch O’Farrell, the councilmember who introduced the legislation, tweeted after the vote went through, “We just took a huge step forward against Big Tobacco’s deadly agenda in Los Angeles. This morning, I led the City Council’s unanimous approval of a prohibition on the sale of flavored tobacco to everyone 21 and younger in LA, making us the largest city in California and the nation to take this kind of action against these products.”

    The ban applies to people of any age, however, not just those 21 and younger.  

    The ordinance also applies to zero-nicotine vapor products, but it does not, however, apply to hookah. “Normally, proponents and supporters of flavor bans will object heavily to … exemptions for hookah tobacco and lounges,” said Stefan Didak, a California-based vape advocate. “More often than not, an attempt at passing a ban fails because they withdraw their support.”

    “However, several of the major groups—including Annie Tegen, the vice president of state advocacy for CTFK—praised the council ahead of their vote on the amendments and congratulated them on doing the right thing,” Didak said. “Not a single word of dismay about the exemption for hookah lounges. I thought that was very much out of character.”

    Hookah lounge owners and retailers protested the ban, stating that it would eliminate a cultural tradition. It’s also speculated that the CTFK may have overlooked the exception of hookah in order to gain what they see as a big win with the LA ban, especially after years of back and forth trying to pass said ban.