The Pleasanton City Council voted last week to ban the retail sale of flavored tobacco products within city limits and establish a tobacco retailer license, effective in 2021.
Pleasanton now joins more than 150 other cities in banning flavored tobacco sales and the establishment of new tobacco retailers within 1,000 feet of a public school, park or recreation center. The two local ordinances are part of a public campaign to discourage youths from using flavored tobacco and vaping devices.
Cigars will be required to be sold in packages of five and cigarillos -- also known as small cigars -- in packages of 20, under the new city regulations.
The Alameda County Public Health Department's Tobacco Control Program found that four in five county youths using tobacco products first tried flavored tobacco, and the ordinance states that a third of underage decoys were able to purchase tobacco products without being asked for identification.
Representatives for a local convenience store phoned in to the council meeting Aug. 18 and said their business should be grandfathered in like other shops in Livermore and Dublin because "if you do not allow a grandfathered location who has been in compliance with the ordinance for a number of years, you're really punishing somebody who has complied with your own action."
Youth Commission adult member Kelly Mokashi told the council to "take very careful care in thinking about the minimum price and package size required for tobacco products."
"We need to avoid any opportunity for interest in this type of sale," Mokashi said. "Our youth are not as aware of the dangers of smoking and vaping is just as dangerous, and so it is a very important ordinance."
Both ordinances passed; the flavored tobacco ban was unanimously approved, while the tobacco retailer license (TRL) ordinance received support from all council members except Karla Brown. Brown said she was "going to continue to vote no because I'd like to have TRLs control the use of locations from youth center proximities."
Both ordinances go into effect Jan. 1.