The city of Ventura is one step closer to banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, oils, cigarillos, cigarettes and loose tobacco.
Ventura Mayor Matt Lavere and Councilwoman Cheryl Heitmann directed City Council staff to draft an ordinance that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, prohibit new tobacco retail licenses within 1,000 feet of a school and establish an annual tobacco retail licensing fee. Of the 117 tobacco retailers in Ventura, 34 are positioned within 1,000 feet of a school.
Lavere and Heitmann stressed the need for a ban in order to safeguard children and teenagers from access to e-cigarettes and products that may entice youth to vape or smoke at an early age.
“Flavored tobacco products are considered ‘starter’ products that help establish long-term tobacco use, and they are particularly appealing to youth. Thanks to tobacco companies’ marketing efforts, our youth are significantly more likely to use flavored tobacco products, particularly menthol cigarettes, and disproportionately bear the burden of tobacco-related harm.”
According to the Ventura County Star, the proposal received full support from the City Council and is expected to return to the board early next year.
There is currently no state law that regulates the sale of menthol cigarettes or flavored non-cigarette tobacco products in California. In January, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of e-cigarettes. E-cigarette maker Juul Labs, which is based in San Francisco, said at the time that it was opposed to youth vaping.
A Juul-backed initiative was approved earlier this month to add an initiative to November’s ballot, giving San Francisco residents the option to overturn the city’s e-cigarette ban.
According to a report released in February by the Food and Drug Administration, vaping among high school students increased by 78% from 2017 to 2018.