California City Closes Vapor Flavor Loophole

Credit: Sarah J. - Pixabay

On Tuesday, the Oakland City Council closed a loophole that allowed for the sale of flavored tobacco products despite the city banning them in Feb. 2017. That loophole created an exemption for tobacco stores that were limited to adults, though had become exploited to create sections in gas stations and convenience stores.

The 8-0 vote closed the so-called “tobacco store” loophole in the city’s 2017 ordinance that banned the sale of flavored tobacco in Oakland. At that time, tobacco retailers requested and received an exemption to continue selling flavored tobacco at “adult-only” tobacco stores, according to a story on CBS local KPIX5.

“People have gone to great efforts to continue selling flavored and menthol tobacco,” Vice Mayor Larry Reid said. “I only wish they would put in equal effort to sell healthier products and join us to prevent a new generation of smokers.”

When the council passed the original ordinance, between two and five such stores existed, according to Reid. As of February, though, 56 adult-only tobacco stores were operating in Oakland, comprising roughly 15 percent of the city’s tobacco retailers.

According to city officials, some of those adult-only stores were simply tobacco stores prior to the original flavored tobacco ban and added a sequestered adult-only area so after the ban they could continue displaying and selling flavored and menthol tobacco products.