Flavored tobacco — with sure exceptions — will seemingly quickly be completely banned in Lengthy Seaside.
The Metropolis Council voted unanimously at its Tuesday, Feb. 9, assembly to maneuver forward with a prohibition on the sale of flavored tobacco, apart from hookah and premium cigars. The ban must come again to the panel earlier than it turns into regulation, and the town will seemingly give a three-month grace interval to companies to promote any remaining inventory they’ve earlier than the ban will probably be enforced.
The vote got here greater than a yr after the Lengthy Seaside Metropolis Council first approved a temporary ban on the sale of flavored tobacco merchandise, which expired final month. It additionally got here after a statewide invoice that may have prohibited the identical merchandise, which was meant to enter impact Jan. 1, was positioned on maintain due to a referendum that was positioned on the 2022 state poll. At that time, all California voters could have an opportunity to weigh in on whether or not companies must be banned from promoting flavored tobacco merchandise.
However Lengthy Seaside’s Well being and Human Providers Director Kelly Colopy instructed council members throughout Tuesday’s assembly that her division believes the town ought to act now to guard public well being. As a result of so many younger persons are drawn into tobacco use by means of flavored merchandise, she mentioned, banning them may have a big impression on youth tobacco use in Lengthy Seaside.
“Our Well being and Human Providers Division strongly recommends the Metropolis Council take rapid motion to undertake a everlasting prohibition of the sale of all flavored tobacco merchandise within the metropolis, apart from hookah lounges and premium cigars below sure situations,” Colopy mentioned, “to guard the general public well being of our group.
“It’s important to take rapid motion,” she added, “for the security of our youth.”
However some enterprise house owners who spoke in public remark mentioned the ban wouldn’t have the results which might be meant. Individuals can nonetheless entry flavored tobacco in different cities like Sign Hill, some mentioned, whereas Lengthy Seaside companies would undergo.
Jaime Rojas, with the Nationwide Affiliation of Tobacco Retailers, mentioned the ban would solely serve to harm extra companies which have already been impacted by the coronavirus-induced recession.
“We utterly oppose it,” he mentioned, “and hope the Metropolis Council realizes that every one they’re doing is closing extra companies and dropping the financial alternative of companies reviving in Lengthy Seaside.”
Others who spoke in public remark, although, mentioned they believed a everlasting prohibition is the proper strategy to transfer ahead.
Victor Sandoval, a scholar at Lengthy Seaside Metropolis Faculty, was amongst them.
“I imagine a everlasting flavored tobacco ban would do that group properly due to how flavored tobacco has been gaining prevalence throughout the youth of Lengthy Seaside,” he mentioned. “Please prioritize the well being of our youngsters over the revenue of us or one other metropolis like Sign Hill.”
At the same time as some council members mentioned they have been sympathetic to enterprise house owners, they have been extra persuaded by arguments like Sandoval’s.
Councilmember Suzie Worth spoke about her personal perspective as a enterprise proprietor. She mentioned that if a product her enterprise bought negatively impacted public well being, she would perceive the necessity to shift her enterprise mannequin to guard the general public.
“Once we’ve acquired public well being versus supporting enterprise, we’ve acquired to discover a strategy to transfer ahead that doesn’t endanger public well being,” she mentioned. “You possibly can’t even examine the 2.”
If state voters determine subsequent yr to not ban flavored tobacco merchandise, she mentioned, Lengthy Seaside may reassess at that time.
However for now, she mentioned, “that is actually a couple of public well being difficulty, and nothing extra.”