Long Beach could follow Burbank, L.A. County with vaping sales ban; Pomona and L.A. to consider similar prohibitions soon – Daily News

on Sep27
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When it comes to calling out the public health impacts of vaping, Long Beach isn’t just blowing smoke.

Los Angeles County’s second-biggest city could be the latest to take action against some e-cigarettes and other tobacco-related merchandise, when the City Council considers a ban on flavored vaping products at its Tuesday, Oct. 1 meeting.

If the panel approves the motion to direct the city attorney to draft such a ban, it would follow in the footsteps of Bay Area cities like San Francisco and Fremont.

Closer to home, Beverly Hills approved an ordinance in June to prohibit the sale of all tobacco products, while both L.A. County and Burbank voted this past Tuesday, Sept. 24, to move ahead with prohibiting the sale of some flavored tobacco products in their jurisdictions.

For Long Beach’s part, the proposal came from City Councilwoman Suzie Price, who represents the southeastern Third District. She said in a Thursday, Sept. 26, phone interview that vaping – which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found to be associated with 805 lung injury cases and 12 deaths nationwide – has proven dangerous enough for the city to halt sales of those products.

In Long Beach, officials have counted two people who were sent to the emergency room, both in August, for lung injuries associated with vaping. Both people have since recovered.

“We’re on notice that it’s an issue,” Price said, “and we need to do something to address it.”

Price’s suggested motion would institute a temporary ban, although she said she wasn’t sure how long such a prohibition should last.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to rush to lift the ban,” she said. “I think we would need a little bit more clarity in terms of what the actual health impacts are.”

Although the CDC is studying the issue, officials haven’t yet identified a specific cause of the lung injuries. But until that’s determined, experts have warned that using vaping products isn’t worth the risk.

Kelly Colopy, Long Beach’s Director of Health and Human Services, said Thursday that she’s concerned about more than just flavored vaping products.

Flavored tobacco in general, she said, has caused an upswing in underage smoking. In addition to instituting a temporary ban on vapor products, Colopy said she’d like to see one in place for things like menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

“They’ve found across the country, when you have a comprehensive flavor ban on tobacco and vaping products,” she said, “they are really a good way to decrease the youth smoking and vaping. So we need to really start to focus on the flavors; it has a strong impact on youth use.”

Colopy said that while a temporary ban is in place, it would be important for the city to study other impacts, like how the business community could be affected, before making any permanent changes.

Whether or not the council moves forward with the ban on Tuesday, other cities in the Southland will likely take action in the near future.

Pomona’s Deputy City Manager Mark Gluba said in a Thursday email that his team will likely bring forward a similar ban “for council consideration as part of a proposed tobacco retailer ordinance that will likely be presented in the coming months.”

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, meanwhile, has made it his mission to ensure the nation’s second-biggest city also acts.

In response to a prior council vote on the issue, Feuer recommended in a Sept. 18 report that the City Council adopt a ban on the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

“The vaping industry is reaping profits, but it’s our kids who pay the price — by putting their health on the line,” Feuer said Thursday. “We’re in the midst of a vape-centered public health emergency.”

A spokesman for Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu, who chairs the Health, Education, Neighborhood, Parks, Arts, River and Environment Committee, said the issue will likely come to the committee in November.

“There’s no doubt that these products need better oversight if not an outright ban, especially when it comes to nicotine products that seem to market to children,” Ryu said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the City Attorney and my council colleagues on legislation that best protects the health of our city’s people.”

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