Contra Costa County, California – The Walnut Creek City Council overwhelmingly decided on Tuesday to ban the sale of tobacco and electronic smoking devices inside city limits.
The goal is to prevent adolescent smokers from switching to flavored electronic vaping products.
“I’m proud that Walnut Creek continues to lead by example in areas of safety for our community, in this case banning sales of flavored vape products and e-cigarette devices,” Mayor Kevin Wilk said, after the meeting.
Wilk said a 2019-20 California tobacco survey found 92 percent of students using tobacco reported using a flavored product.
“Vaping is the number one problem in middle and high school, and we need to protect our youths,” Wilk said.
A staff report for Tuesday’s meeting quoted United States Centers for Disease Control statistics saying smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. (more than 480,000 annually). Nearly nine out of every 10 adult smokers try smoking by the age of 18.
The city’s ban is more restrictive than federal and state laws, though it provides exemptions for adult-only hookah tobacco businesses.
The ordinance includes a five-month enforcement delay to allow retailers to comply with the new restrictions.
The city follows Contra Costa County, who reaffirmed its 2019 ban restricting the sale of flavored vaping products and electronic devices in July. That ordinance only covers the county’s unincorporated areas.