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Walnut Creek Officials Approve Ban On Selling Flavored Tobacco, Vaping Products

WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF/BCN) -- Amid rising concerns over teenage vaping, the Walnut Creek City Council has unanimously approved a ban on the sale of favored tobacco and electronic smoking devices within city limits.

A staff report for Tuesday night's meeting quoted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics saying smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. (more than 480,000 annually). It also says nearly nine out of every 10 adult smokers try smoking by the age of 18.

The city's ban will be more restrictive than current federal and state laws, though it would provide an exemption for adult-only hookah tobacco businesses. The ordnance includes a five-month enforcement delay to allow retailers to comply with the new restrictions.

"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. "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," Wilk said.

The city follows Contra Costa County, which 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.

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