Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a ban on flavored tobacco products, which will take effect citywide starting Jan. 1, 2023.
The action comes after the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 this month to ban the sale of the candy-flavored nicotine — including menthol cigarettes — across the city.
The ban does not apply to shisha tobacco products at hookah lounges and bar patios with valid tobacco permits obtained before January, among other requirements, according to the ordinance.
Officials said L.A. will be the most populous city in the nation to take flavored nicotine products off store shelves.
City councilmembers argued that the use of candy flavors, including menthol, lured children into trying nicotine.
“Ending the sale of candy-flavored nicotine across the city means tobacco companies can not mask the harshness of cigarette smoke to make it more appealing to children and teens, and they can’t use menthol to target the African-American community,” Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said in a statement.
The council vote garnered praise from health groups like the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.
“Strong measures such as this are critical to reducing the appeal of tobacco to youth and adults and preventing e-cigarettes and new products from addicting a new generation to nicotine,” said Dr. Richard J. Shemin, Board President of the American Heart Association Los Angeles.
According to the American Lung Association in California, 4 out of 5 youth who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.
“The City of L.A.’s ordinance will stop tobacco companies from targeting youth with fruity, mint, menthol and othercandy flavors to addict them to nicotine, and it ends Big Tobacco’s discriminatory and deadly practice of deliberately targeting Black neighborhoods with marketing for menthol cigarettes,” said Primo J. Castro of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
Statewide, California lawmakers have in 2020 approved a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, but it was put on hold due to a referendum backed by major tobacco companies.
Californians will vote this year on whether the state should ban the sale of flavored tobacco products.