Walnut Creek has grew to become the primary Contra Costa County metropolis to ban the sale of flavored tobacco merchandise and digital smoking units in an effort to curb nicotine habit amongst youths.
The ban, accredited unanimously Wednesday by the council, will apply to menthol cigarettes, sweet vape pens and some other tobacco merchandise which have a definite taste moreover that of normal cigarettes.
As well as, the coverage will prohibit the sale of units that convert tobacco into vapor for ingestion — a preferred various to standard, flame-lit tobacco merchandise. Town will begin implementing the ordinance in 5 months.
Whereas the ordinance will ban gross sales for everybody, the council made clear that its intention was to chop off the availability of those addictive merchandise to town’s youth. Cherise Khaund, president of the Mount Diablo Unified Faculty District, mentioned at Tuesday’s assembly that use of flavored tobacco and vapes are rampant amongst college students.
Most of the units on the market are available in radiant colours, typically within the type of pens, highlighters and USB units — objects that may simply be masked as faculty provides. Khaund mentioned college students caught with these merchandise admit to acquiring them at fuel stations and nook shops, including that the merchandise are “all so clearly and obviously targeted at youth.”
“What we see in our schools is, despite massive education campaigns and campus supervisors trying to monitor at all times, students are still getting access to these devices,” Khaund mentioned.
Drew Christie, a 17-year-old pupil at Contra Costa Christian Faculty in Walnut Creek, mentioned he has seen his associates discover “a million ways to get access” to vapes and e-cigarettes.
“The ordinance itself does not discriminate, if you will, between youths and adults,” mentioned Assistant Metropolis Legal professional Brian Hickey mentioned. “But the impetus of the ordinance is essentially… based on the data that they’re overwhelmingly popular with youth smokers.”
Town’s ban is just like one accredited by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors in 2019, which utilized solely to unincorporated areas. San Jose accredited the same ban in September.
California, in the meantime, established a statewide prohibition on flavored tobacco, menthol and digital smoking units final yr. However the legislation is presently not being not enforced — opponents garnered sufficient signatures to deliver the difficulty to voters within the November 2022 election.
Nobody at spoke out Tuesday in opposition to Walnut Creek’s flavored tobacco ordinance, which exempts hookah companies that enable solely prospects who’re 21 and older to enter.
Some did urge the council to not apply the ban to digital units that vaporize marijuana. Hickey mentioned those that want digital units to eat pot can discover them exterior Walnut Creek or get them organized to their properties.
In voting to approve the ordinance, council members Matt Francois and Cindy Silva mentioned smoking had instantly affected their households.
“My children have two grandparents that are not here today due to having died from lung cancer,” Francois mentioned. “One was my mother, who was addicted to menthol cigarettes when I was growing up, and I think this is the latest iteration of that. To the extent we can curb people from getting addicted to these products a young age, that’s what we should do.”