Los Angeles will ban businesses from selling flavored tobacco products under new restrictions in an attempt to decrease teen vaping.
The new rules were celebrated by public health advocates and community groups that argue that tobacco products with appealing flavors — including menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and liquid pods for electronic cigarettes — have been a gateway to nicotine addiction for teens. Researchers have found that the majority of youth who use tobacco started with flavored products.
“It’s a simple formula: Use flavors that appeal to kids to cover up the harsh flavors of traditional tobacco, disguise the strong hits of addictive nicotine and hook a new generation of tobacco users — and then just watch the profits roll in,” said Lindsey Freitas, advocacy director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Council members voted 12 to 0 to pass the ordinance, which now goes to Mayor Eric Garcetti for his signature. “We have a duty to protect our youngest and most vulnerable residents against the lifelong, deadly impacts of tobacco in this city,” said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who initiated the proposal at City Hall.
The new restrictions are slated to go into effect in January. Ahead of the Wednesday vote, a representative of the National Assn. of Tobacco Outlets thanked the council for giving retailers time to sell their products and “adapt to the new regulations.”