Flavored Tobacco Sales Banned in Unincorporated Areas of Santa Clara

Santa Clara County made a near-unprecedented move in the tobacco wars Tuesday, prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products in all unincorporated areas of the county. Tuesday’s vote by the Board of Supervisors makes Santa Clara the first jurisdiction in the Western United States to adopt such a policy. Only four other jurisdictions nationwide have elected to do so.

Supporters say the intent of the new law is to reduce smoking among children and teens, with whom flavored tobacco products remain especially popular.

“In the absence of updated national regulations, local governments have to act to protect children from this harmful marketing ploy,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager. He noted that the U.S. government banned flavored cigarettes in 2009 because they were being marketed to teens, but has not moved to curtail the products which have since replaced them.

Tobacco retailers have 90 days to comply with the new ordinance. Exemptions will apply to businesses which generate more than 60 percent of their gross revenues from tobacco or tobacco paraphernalia, do not allow minors in without a guardian, and do not sell alcohol or food for on-site consumption.

Read more about Tuesday’s vote here.