Pasadena’s City Council approved changes to the city’s tobacco retailer license and tobacco use prevention ordinances which effectively prohibit the distribution and sale within the city of flavored tobacco products, including electronic smoking device liquids and flavored hookah products.
Councilmembers voted unanimously to approve the amendments during the Council meeting Monday.
“The most important thing in our city is the health of our people,” Councilmember Tyron Hampton said. “It’s the choice of any adult to smoke and to do what they like to do for their enjoyment but if you’re looking to buy smoke in the City of Pasadena that is flavored, I’m sorry this is not the place.”
“We have to listen to our youth, we have to think about our future,” Hampton added.
The amendments align the city’s ordinances with current state law. Their intent is to mitigate the number of young people who use tobacco. A city staff report said that according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 81% of youth who have ever used tobacco products started with a flavored product
The amended ordinances will affect 88 licensed tobacco retailers in Pasadena that sell flavored tobacco including seven that advertise the sale of hookah products.
The list of banned items for sale and distribution in Pasadena includes mentholated cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, including flavored products for electronic smoking devices, including electronic smoking device liquids, flavored little cigars, flavored hookah, and tobacco look-alike products.
The amendments do not prohibit the use of flavored tobacco products, except in specific areas where smoking is prohibited.
California state law prohibits smoking in indoor places while the Pasadena Municipal Code prohibits smoking in certain outdoor public spaces, including unenclosed areas of bars and restaurants.
There is a growing number of states and cities in the country which are prohibiting the sale of flavored and mentholated tobacco products.
In California alone, 109 jurisdictions, including unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and the cities of Beverly Hills, Burbank, Carson, Compton, Culver City, Cudahy, El Monte, Glendale, Hermosa Beach, Laguna Niguel, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Maywood, Redondo Beach, West Hollywood and Ventura have already approved a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco.
Of the 109 jurisdictions with a flavored ban, only 8 have a hookah exemption.
In April 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) announced it is working toward issuing proposed product standards within the next year to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and ban all characterizing flavors (including menthol) in cigars. The FDA has not provided a timeline explaining when any such ban will go into effect.