Walnut Creek

Lafayette Moves Closer to Ban on Flavored Tobacco

The Lafayette City Council late Monday voted unanimously to establish an ordinance banning flavored tobacco and related products.

The next step is having city staff craft an ordinance to spell out the ban.  

City staff recommended that Lafayette ban all sales of flavored-tobacco products, and that a tobacco retailers' licensing program be adopted to provide a framework to enforce the ban.

During a City Council meeting Monday night, city leaders discussed the proposed ordinance recommended by city staff then voted to have the staff craft the ordinance.

In the proposed ordinance, a retailer could have its business license suspended for 12 months for a third offense of selling flavored tobacco products, according to a city staff report.

Regular non-flavored tobacco and products used to consume non-flavored tobacco are not covered in the proposed ordinance.

A city staff report says Lafayette is host to 13 tobacco retailers, including six gas stations, and all of them sell at least one kind of flavored-tobacco products. That compares to 33 such retailer in Walnut Creek, 21 in Pleasant Hill, seven in Orinda and six in Moraga.

Adding menthol and other flavors to tobacco - dozens of such flavors are available - helps blunt the "natural harshness and taste of tobacco," and helps make tobacco more palatable and more likely to be used as "starter" products for young people.

A study of 33 communities with strong tobacco retail licensing ordinances shows that youth tobacco sales rates went down in 32 of them.

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