Flavored Nicotine Vaping Products Temporary Banned

By: 
Kirt Ramirez

After deaths and illnesses linked to vaping have been reported nationwide, the Long Beach City Council voted to support a temporary ban on flavored vaping products.

The agenda item, which passed unanimously, directs the “city attorney to draft an ordinance temporarily banning the sale of flavored vapor products in the City of Long Beach.”

“Anyone using e-cigarettes to quit smoking and break themselves of a nicotine addiction under our temporary ban would still be able to access the products, it would just not be the flavor of cotton candy,” said 3rd District Councilwoman Suzie Price during the City Council’s Oct. 1 meeting.

“With this policy we take a prudent step to address a health concern that is nationwide, while also seeking to make a bigger impact on reducing teen access to vaping-based nicotine,” she said.

“Cities, counties and states all across the country are making major strides to confront this issue and it is time that the City of Long Beach did the same to protect our residents until we have more information regarding the health impacts.”

Price said Long Beach had two reported pulmonary lung cases in addition to the nationwide statistics.

The County of Los Angeles has already instituted a ban on flavored vape products as well as the states of Michigan, New York and Massachusetts, she said.

San Mateo County and San Jose also issued a ban on flavored tobacco products, she said, adding the City of Los Angeles has not yet implemented a ban but the city’s attorney openly supports one and the topic is on that city’s radar.

Kelley Colopy, the director of Long Beach’s Health and Human Services department, told the city council, “We do know that generally the flavored tobacco products are the gateway to further smoking and other sorts of tobacco usage.”

Children are especially at risk.

“When you look at the injury cases that have happened nationally, 22 percent of them have occurred among those who are 18 to 21,” Colopy said. “And 16 percent are occurring for those under the age of 18.”

Long Beach already prohibits tobacco products for anyone under age 21, she added, which includes vaping.

“So when we’re looking nationally at the 18 to 21 year-olds, we would want to make sure that we’re paying close attention to that population as we’re looking forward,” she said.

Long Beach has 13 vape-only stores within the city in addition to 490 licensed places across the city where tobacco and vape products are sold, she said.

“We support, as the health department, this ban,” Colopy told the council.

All city councilmembers supported the agenda item.

Later in an emailed newsletter, Price wrote, “A ban on flavored vaping is also especially important based on the serious and pressing health emergency we are seeing nationwide with over 800 significant lung injuries and 12 deaths so far.”

Price wrote the city has an obligation to protect its residents “and that is exactly what we have accomplished with this ban on flavored vaping.”

It is unknown how long the ban will last.

“This ban will be in place until further action by the City Council in order for our health department to gather additional information and better provide safeguards for our youth and protections for consumers,” Price wrote.

kirt@beachcomber.news

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