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San Jose Bans Menthols

Flavored tobacco is banned.

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mint eliquid in glass bottle

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This San Francisco Bay Area city just became the largest community in the US to ban the sale of flavored tobacco.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Local news media outlets indicate that the city council for San Jose, Calif., has opted to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products within city limits. Such a ban covers flavored vaping products regardless of their FDA approval status and the flavors of menthol and mint characterized combustible cigarettes.

This means that San Jose is the largest city in California and the entire United States to adopt a prohibition on flavored tobacco.

“I think it’s an important first step to making sure we keep these very dangerous, very addictive products not only out of the hands of our children but really off of their radar,” said Magdalena Carrasco, a councilwoman representing East San Jose. Carrasco is one of the leading proponents of the ordinance, which yielded a solid unanimous approval earlier this week by the city council.

More than 650 tobacco retailers have until June 30, 2022, to deplete the “newly prohibited products” before they face fines and enforcement actions from the city’s Public Health Department. In addition to that, new tobacco retailers are prohibited from selling menthol and flavored e-cigarettes at all and also will be barred from opening a store within 500 feet of another smoke shop. It is also forbidden to open a new smoke ship within 1000 feet of a school, park, community center, library, or facility with children.

Flavored hookah is carved out and not subject to the ordinance. This is counter to the advice of tobacco control experts and public health advocates. Reports indicate that the city will revisit the law a year out from its implementation to measure its impact and to consider changes, including a potential ban on flavored hookah despite the initial carve out at its passage.

“This ordinance isn’t perfect, but the goal is to get it passed, take a look at it and bring back what we need to in a year,” said Pam Foley, another councilwoman, in remarks. “Because frankly, big tobacco is not going to stop with this. They will figure out some other distribution system, some other way to reach our kids.”

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