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Walnut Creek bans flavored tobacco, vaping devices

The Walnut Creek City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to ban the sale of favored tobacco and electronic smoking devices within city limits.

The idea is to discourage young smokers, who frequently start using flavored products for electronic vaping.

Mayor Kevin Wilk said after the meeting:

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. … These are specially targeted at our students, and we hope neighboring cites follow our lead.”

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.”

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 covers only the county’s unincorporated areas.

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