By CBSLA Staff

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — The City of Long Beach says they will soon begin enforcing a ban on flavored tobacco products, a move that the Los Angeles City Council is also moving toward.

The FDA announced plans in April to ban menthol cigarettes, and cigars in other flavors. But as e-cigarettes have risen in popularity, public health officials feared that sweet-tasting flavors are particularly appealing to young people. Long Beach city officials cited the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found 81% of youth who have ever used tobacco products started with a flavored product.

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“The city is committed to protecting young people and promoting public health,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “These tobacco products have been directly linked to serious health concerns by doctors and health experts.”

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Long Beach’s ordinance prohibiting the sale and distribution of curtained flavored tobacco products went into effect on May 16. Enforcement of the ordinance will begin on Aug. 15 so retailers have time to be in compliance.

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At its meeting Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council directed the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that will ban flavored tobacco and menthol
cigarette sales in the city, with an exemption for hookah tobacco products at existing smokers lounges. Under the proposed ordinance, which will be drafted and come back to the City Council for approval, existing smokers lounges will be able to sell hookah products for on-site or off-site consumption, but the city’s 4,500 tobacco retail stores will be banned from selling flavored tobacco, including hookah tobacco.