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San Rafael considers flavored tobacco ban, exempts adult-only businesses

The San Rafael City Council on Monday evening will consider adopting an ordinance that prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products and bans the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and through vending machines.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the ordinance, which amends the city’s municipal code. If the ordinance passes, it will take effect in six months.

The ordinance allows tobacco retailers to sell flavored tobacco products if the retailer does not allow anyone under age 21 on the premises, requires verification of age of all people on the premises and if the sale of tobacco products and paraphernalia is more than 50 percent of gross annual receipts.

At a City Council meeting in April, several speakers said flavored tobacco products that deliver nicotine contained in a liquid that is heated and inhaled through an “electronic cigarette” helped them reduce or eliminate reliance and the use of more harmful tobacco products.

In response, council members said an exemption of the ordinance for adult-only businesses would balance adults’ need for tobacco products while discouraging access to flavored tobacco products by people under age 21.

The City Council meeting is set for 7 p.m. at City Hall at 1400 Fifth Ave.

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