Santa Ana is contemplating banning the sale of flavored tobacco merchandise in an effort to guard youthful residents from dangerous well being results.
Council members supported the proposal on Tuesday night time, however selected to proceed the merchandise to a later date after realizing that the brand new regulation wanted some fleshing out. Particularly, Mayor Vicente Sarmiento mentioned that he needs to make sure that the ordinance doesn’t inadvertently discriminate in opposition to communities that use flavored tobacco merchandise as a part of their cultural traditions, reminiscent of hookah.
“I think there’s a way that we can be respectful and make sure that we protect kids,” Sarmiento mentioned. “… The vaping has been off the charts dangerous to our youth.”
The potential regulation is being mentioned as native governments, the state and federal authorities contemplate tips on how to take care of flavored tobacco use in younger adults. The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration introduced earlier this 12 months efforts to ban menthol in cigarettes and flavored cigars to scale back dependancy, dying and “youth experimentation.” Tobacco use is the main reason behind preventable dying in the US, with 16 million individuals dwelling with a illness attributable to smoking.
In 2020, California authorised a regulation banning retail gross sales of flavored tobacco. However earlier this 12 months, the regulation was positioned on maintain after a referendum backed by the tobacco business certified for the November 2022 poll, when California voters will resolve the destiny of the regulation.
In 2019, Laguna Niguel was the primary Orange County metropolis to ban flavored digital cigarette merchandise.
Through the council assembly, a number of different council members supported Sarmiento’s stance.
“I want to see us keep tobacco out of the hands of children by any means necessary, but I also want to respect peoples’ cultures and traditions,” Councilman Johnathan Hernandez mentioned.
Councilwoman Nelida Mendoza, who proposed the ordinance, mentioned that metropolis employees must look into “the hookah issue.”
In close by Los Angeles, hookah enterprise homeowners rose up in protest in June as metropolis officers thought-about banning flavored tobacco gross sales. West Hollywood banned flavored tobacco gross sales in February, besides shisha tobacco, the product smoked in hookahs.
A number of spoke out in opposition to a possible ban on hookah tobacco in the course of the public remark part of the Santa Ana council assembly.
“Before you ban the 1,000-year cultural tradition of hookah that is practiced by Middle Easterners, Armenians, Turks, Indians, North Africans and other minority groups, please understand the facts,” mentioned Rima Khoury, basic counsel for Fumari — a hookah tobacco producer. “Hookah is not the problem with youth. There is no teen hookah epidemic. Hookahs are generally 3 feet tall. They’re very hard to conceal in your backpack or in your pocket. They take 20 to 30 minutes to set up. So kids aren’t smoking hookahs in the bathroom during recess.”
Khoury, who can also be a founding member of the Nationwide Hookah Group Assn., mentioned that as a Palestinian American, she has a hookah in her residence.
“And it’s offered to guests as a sign of hospitality and respect like it was hundreds of years ago by sultans and kings,” she mentioned.
George Johnson, one other founding member of the Nationwide Hookah Group Assn., echoed a few of Khoury’s feedback, declaring that youngsters will not be smoking hookahs on college campuses.
“I stand firmly with my community and the Middle Eastern community that I’ve been serving for 20 years,” Johnson mentioned. “We seem to be collateral damage to a youth epidemic that we didn’t cause and we’re not part of.”
Councilman Phil Bacerra mentioned that whereas he’s pleased with the council’s issues with inclusiveness, the topic is a matter of life and dying, and he put ahead a movement to approve the merchandise as an urgency ordinance, which might put it into impact instantly.
Nonetheless, he didn’t obtain any assist from the remainder of the council.
Councilwoman Thai Viet Phan then proposed that town ought to discover whether or not tobacco retailers may tighten their safety, just like how native hashish companies function, reasonably than banning flavored tobacco merchandise to maintain them out of the fingers of youngsters and youngsters.
The town will now look into the problems raised by Sarmiento and Phan.
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