Redwood City, Calif. Prohibits Sale of Vaping Products

At its most recent meeting, the Redwood City City Council in California unanimously passed a ban on the sale of flavored vaping and other tobacco products.

Credit: Valeriya Zankovych

The ordinance also prohibits the sale of all electronic cigarettes and electronic smoking devices, and bans all pharmacies from selling tobacco products by way of making them ineligible to obtain a tobacco retailer’s permit.

The ordinance does create an exemption for businesses holding a tobacco retailer’s permit that sell flavored tobacco for on-site hookah consumption, provided the business was operational and licensed as of Nov. 22, 2021. The rules do not allow for the exemption to be transferable or assignable to a subsequent owner of the business.

The city joins eight cities in San Mateo County and many more across the state and nation to ban flavored tobacco products over their health impacts, particularly to young consumers. Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, San Carlos, San Mateo, and South San Francisco have all passed similar ordinances.

On October 28, 2019, the City Council directed staff to research and draft an ordinance for consideration to ban flavored tobacco and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), modeled after the County of San Mateo’s ordinance.

There is no exception for premium cigars in the ordinance. The ban will go into effect on April 1, 2022. Meanwhile, statewide legislation (SB 793) to ban the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products is currently on hold pending the result of a ballot measure in the Nov. 8, 2022 election.