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LA County Board Of Supervisors Votes To Ban Flavored Tobacco

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday cast a preliminary vote in favor of banning flavored tobacco within all unincorporated areas of L.A. County.

Vaping e-cigarettes flavored tobacco
Flavored vaping products containing nicotine are seen in a store in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, 2019. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

The proposed ordinance prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products -- including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol. Tuesday's vote was the first of two addressing the ordinance.

Along with the ban, the ordinance also requires all tobacco shops to obtain a county business license, which must be renewed every two years. The license would cost $778 initially, and then would have to be renewed every two years at a cost of $142.

LA Board Of Supervisors To Vote On Flavored Tobacco Ban
Protesters outside a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting in downtown L.A. The board is set to hold a vote on whether to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in unincorporated L.A. County. Sept. 24, 2019. (CBS2)

This is in addition to the current $235 annual Tobacco Retail License (TRL) fee those shops already pay.

"For decades, we were making incredible progress in decreasing tobacco use among young people. But flavored e-cigarettes have reversed that trend. Now nearly 1 in 10 high schoolers report using e-cigarettes," said Supervisor Janice Hahn after the preliminary vote.

"By taking action now and banning the sale of flavored products that mask the smell and taste of tobacco, we may be able to save this next generation from the same terrible health effects of nicotine addiction that generations before them suffered from."

There were dozens of demonstrators on both sides of the issue outside board headquarters in downtown L.A. ahead of the vote Tuesday morning.

This comes after L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer last week issued his own report which also called for a ban on the sale of all flavored tobacco within city limits amid the growing use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products among youth.

So far, there has been one death and 16 pulmonary injuries caused by vaping, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health. The deceased victim was described as an older adult over 55 years of age with chronic health issues. Two-thirds of the cases involved patients under 25 years old, the public health department noted. All but one of the patients used both an e-cigarette and a cannabis-type product, but not necessarily at the same time.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has launched a $20 million statewide public awareness campaign designed to inform youth about the dangers of vaping.

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration announced that it has directed the Federal Drug Administration to pull flavored e-cigarettes off the market nationwide. If approved, it's unclear when that would take effect.

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