MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA) – The Manhattan Beach City Council this week approved an ordinance banning the sale of all tobacco products and electronic smoking devices within city limits.
It was approved Tuesday by a 4-1 margin, with Councilwoman Suzanne Hadley as the lone dissenting vote.
“I think it’s the purest form of modern government overreach to deprive the sale of tobacco within city bounds,” Hadley said Tuesday. “President Obama couldn’t buy a pack of cigarettes, a soldier, a Chinese tourist. It puts hardworking small businesses at risk.”
The ban will apply to all tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and hookahs. It also applies to all e-cigarettes, vaping devices and flavored tobacco products.
“I look at the other things we’ve banned for environmental purposes — the Styrofoam, the single-use plastic, the plastic straws — yet somehow, we’re gonna draw the line at the single deadliest consumer product ever sold,” Councilman Steve Napolitano said. “So I find that kind of ironic.”
City Attorney Quinn Barrow said the ordinance will come back for a second reading and vote. If it is adopted, the new law would take effect Jan. 1, 2021.
Under the ordinance, retailers will be able to apply for a hardship exemption in which they must prove that the ban will seriously hurt their business.
“We’ve reached out to the businesses, we’ve had good discussions with them, we’ve given them hardship extensions and we’ll consider others in the future,” Napolitano said. “And we’ve also offered to provide help in finding alternative things to sell to make up for the lost revenue.”
Nationwide, a partial ban on certain cartridge-based flavored vaping products goes into effect Thursday. That ban, issued by the Federal Drug Administration, applies to cartridge-based products with flavors other than tobacco and menthol.
In October, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol, within all unincorporated areas of the county amid the growing use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products among youth. Ventura County followed suit in December.
The L.A. city attorney has also called for a ban on the sale of all flavored tobacco within city limits.
In November, California sued Juul, the most well-known maker of vaping products, alleging the company targeted young people and failed to warn them about the risks of using their products.