Council Votes Unanimously to Ban Flavored Tobacco Sales

The Culver City city council meeting on Oct. 14, 2019 brought back the issue of banning the sale of flavored tobacco, and after several hours of community input and council discussion, came to a unanimous agreement. With one exemption and a staggered timeline for amortization, the ordinance will come back for a second and final approval on the consent calendar, and will then be law.

There were 26 speaker cards, and a wide spread among opinions; several public health officials spoke about the statistically documented risks of tobacco, multiple speakers took issue with the idea of the ban, and some business owners offered their own ethics on checking ID’s and not selling to minors as a reason the ban was not needed.

Monty Messex of the Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health noted that “Of the 18 policies recently put in place [in LA County] banning flavored tobacco, none have made exemptions for menthol … and hookah lounges are just considered another vendor of tobacco.”

J.J. Jenkins said that he had “opened the first vape shop in the world about 800 yards from here, across the street from the Kirk Douglas Theater. I had, at one point, seven stores, I now have two stores having just recently closed the one in Culver City, because of the massive misinformation campaign about vaping. I’ll gladly close all my vape shops if you will also get rid of cigarettes. The smoking rate has been cut in half in the last ten years, because of vaping.”

Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells took the moment to offer that the ban was not on vaping, but on flavored tobacco, which included menthol cigarette.

When the council took their turn to speak, Sahli-Wells noted ” We [Culver City] were among the first to take up this flavored tobacco ban, and now we are among the last [to legislate.]

With an exemption for the existing Hookah Lounge, the ordinance went to a vote allowing tobacco stores to be given a 12 month amortization period, all other retailers have 180 day amortization period, to sell their existing products and come into compliance.

All council members voted “aye.”

Judith Martin-Straw

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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