Bay Area communities are continuing to stand up youth health and social justice by tackling the issue flavored tobacco. In July of 2017, San Francisco, Contra Costa County, and Oakland all voted to pass ordinances restricting the sale of flavored tobacco. Yolo County and the City of Los Gatos have enacted similar regulations, while Santa Clara County, El Cerrito, and Berkeley have also acted on the issue of flavored tobacco.
On July 7, 2017, Mayor Ed Lee signed into law an ordinance ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes in San Francisco. This ordinance will save lives, protect youth health, save money in the city by reducing tobacco-related health costs, and address issues of social justice related to the targeting of vulnerable communities by big tobacco advertising.
Predictably, the tobacco industry is pushing against San Francisco’s efforts to protect youth health. R.J. Reynolds, the maker of Newport cigarettes, is the major funder for a referendum effort against the legislation. Read more in a blog post by Dr. Stan Glantz, eminent tobacco researcher, tobacco control expert, and Breathe California ally.
“This petition shows that they are desperate,” said San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced the ordinance. “My legislation threatens the sale of their products, including Newport cigarettes, the No. 2 brand for all cigarette sales in the U.S. and the No. 1 brand in menthol sales. They know that children will stop picking up a lethal habit if we remove flavored tobacco from the market.” (San Francisco Chronicle, July 12, 2017)