City Council approves 1-year ban on flavored vaping products

A temporary ban on the sales of certain flavored tobacco and vaping products moved forward Tuesday night after the Long Beach City Council preliminarily approved the measure for one year.

The ban, which requires a second vote and a signature from Mayor Robert Garcia to make it law, will extend to flavored vaping products as well as menthol cigarettes, and any cigarettes, cigarillos or cigars made with fruit or candy flavors. At the urging of store owners over the past few months, the ban will not impact chewing tobacco or tobacco used for hookah.

A second reading and vote on the ordinance is expected in an upcoming December meeting of the City Council. The law would go into effect 30 days after Garcia signs it and would last for one year after that point.

The ban was originally scheduled to apply to all flavored tobacco products but was curtailed last week after council discussion. Under the ordinance, store owners would have 180 days to clear out their inventory. After the 180-day mark, retailers still selling the banned products would be in violation of the law.

Narrower ban focused on flavored vaping products moves forward after City Council vote

The penalties for violating the ban range from $1,000 fines to six months in jail and could result in retailers losing licenses or permits to operate within the city.

Long Beach’s ordinance was preceded by a growing number of vaping-related illnesses nationwide in which users have fallen ill, some being fatally injured, by using vape products that led to lung injuries.

A report released earlier this month by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found vitamin E acetate could be a contributor to the lung injuries. However, the report did not rule out other factors that could be harming vapers.

The report noted that vitamin E acetate is used as a cutting agent in black-market cannabis vaping products in an attempt to stretch out the supply of cannabis oil. Cannabis vape products are not included in the city’s temporary ban.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.