San Francisco

Marin County Joins Other Bay Area Cities in Banning Flavored Tobacco Products

Flavored tobacco products, including vaping liquids and menthol cigarettes, will be illegal to sell in Marin County after the county Board of Supervisors passed a ban on Tuesday, county officials said.

The ban will take effect for most retailers on July 1, 2019, and for specialty tobacco stores on Jan. 1, 2020. It will only affect unincorporated areas of the county, though some Marin County cities have already passed similar bans, including Novato, Fairfax and Sausalito.

County officials cited data that suggested the use of e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, was rising among Marin County high school students. That trend has raised concerns that use of e-cigarettes could lead to regular tobacco use and smoking as users become addicted.

Research also shows that while smoking decreased nationwide between 2004 and 2014, the use of menthol cigarettes increased, according to the county.

"After decades of progress on the reduction of tobacco use, we're losing ground," county public health officer Matt Willis said ahead of Tuesday's vote. "It's time for new policy."

In addition to those in Marin County, other Bay Area cities have passed bans on flavored tobacco products as well, including San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.

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