PALMDALE — The City Council will discuss a city ordinance to ban certain flavored electronic cigarette products — specifically those flavors that appeal to youth.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m., tonight, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 38300 Sierra Hwy.,
The proposed vaping products ban is aimed at the fruit- and candy-flavored products popular among high school-aged youth, according to the staff report.
“This is really addressing the stuff that’s targeted to kids and is creating health problems,” Mayor Steve Hofbauer said.
The 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey reported 3.6 million children use electronic cigarette products, up from approximately 1.5 million the prior year, according to the
Additionally, a 2013-2014 survey found that 81% of youth using electronic cigarettes cited the availability of appealing flavors as their primary reason, according to the staff report.
In order to accommodate those who use the electronic cigarettes as a way to stop smoking traditional tobacco products, the ban would not include tobacco, menthol or mint flavors.
On the other side of the equation, are the smoke shops for which the products constituent a significant portion of their sales, Hofbauer said.
The Council may consider delaying the effective date of the ordinance, should they decide to enact one, in order to give such shops time to transition.
Typically, an ordinance is effective 30 days after it is approved by the Council.
With bans under consideration from the state and federal governments, the local ordinance would also provide a means of preventing new smoke shop-type businesses from entering the market, only to be shut down by state or federal legislation after a short period, Hofbauer said.
The proposed ordinance also includes language to resolve ambiguity in the current rules to make it clear that tobacco product retailers must be at least 18 years old, according to the staff report.
With the proposal under consideration, Palmdale joins a host of communities nationwide, addressing the issue of vaping and the appeal to young consumers.
In October, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors banned flavored tobacco products, including menthol, in unincorporated areas. The proposed Palmdale ordinance would help ensure continuity of regulations across the area.
“We don’t want an adjoining jurisdiction to push it into ours,” Hofbauer said.
The concern stems not only from an increase in use by youth, but by increased incidence of hospitalizations and deaths, nationwide, related to vaping, with investigations continuing into a specific cause.
The Centers for Disease Control recently found vitamin E acetate, used as an additive in those vaping products containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in products used by those who developed lung problems from vaping. However, there is not yet enough evidence to rule out other sources.