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Sacramento City Council Approves Ban On Flavored Tobacco Products

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento City Council has approved a ban on all flavored tobacco products in the city limits. There are currently 400 licenses for these types of sales in the city at vape shops, gas stations, grocery stores, and wine and liquor stores. Anti-smoking experts say flavored tobacco products are the gateway to tobacco products and highly addictive.

The owner of one local shop will be at that meeting tonight. He says these types of products are his livelihood and banning then will put him out of business.  Anti-smoking groups say it has to be done to block access for teens.

Heather Beckham has a 17-year-old son who's already familiar with vaping.

"Both of my grandfathers died from lung cancer and he knows all of the useful information and he can walk into any bathroom on campus and get an e-cigarette.  It's really disheartening," Beckham said.

READ: Passenger Removed From Sacramento Flight Over Alleged Vape Pen Use

She supports a proposed ban on all flavored tobacco products in the city of Sacramento and she is working with the American Cancer Society's cancer action network to inform people about the problem.

"E-cigarette usage in high students is up 78 percent in one year alone. The FDA is calling this an epidemic and we know it's threatening decades of progress in reducing smoking rates," said Jim Knox, Vice President of the American Cancer Society.

The FDA says 80 percent of smokers started with a flavored tobacco product. But Noorddin Kacchi says they aren't getting it from him. Kacchi runs Cloud Nine Smoke and Vape shop in Natomas, he said 85% of his business is from sales of flavored liquid products and hardware for e-cigarettes and vaping.

"I'm not even sure we're going to be in business if this flavor ban gets approved," Kacchhi said.

READ: Smoking Pot Vs. Tobacco: What Science Says About Lighting Up

He says vaping is a healthier alternative for long-time smokers like Austin Sorensen, who started using flavored E-cigarettes several years ago.

"I just went to that and tried to wean down the nicotine from there. And then I'm almost done with nicotine and will quit altogether," said Sorenson.

Experts say for every one smoker who stops, 80 kids start.

"These products are highly concentrated nicotine products. They don't wean you from nicotine. They addict you to nicotine and they serve as the gateway to traditional tobacco products," said Knox.

Sacramento City Code Enforcement would regulate the ban. It already enforces for underage sales and licensing compliance.

The city council approved the ban with a 7-1 vote after lengthy discussion and public comment Tuesday night. The ban will go into effect on January 1 of the new year, giving business owners eight months to comply.

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