Tobacco products that come in sweet, fruity and minty flavors could soon be banned from store shelves in Los Angeles, under a proposal backed Wednesday by the City Council.
Council members voted to ask city attorneys to start drafting the ban on selling flavored tobacco products, which has been sought by a coalition of youth and public health advocates. Backers of the ban argue that such products — including liquid pods for electronic cigarettes, menthols and flavored cigars — have been a gateway to hooking teens on nicotine.
“Kids don’t smoke regular tobacco because it’s gross, and the tobacco companies know this. You know this,” said Virginia Escamilla, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Flavored products are “Big Tobacco’s sad, sad ploy to addict a whole new generation to this drug.”
Much of the debate at City Hall centered around whether to carve out any exemptions to the proposed ban. Council members opted to exempt some sales of hookah tobacco, but decided against an exemption for menthol cigarettes.
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