Ordinances to Restrict Smoking & the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products
During the March 22, 2021, City Council Regular Meeting, the Council discussed considering possible ordinances to further restrict smoking in the City and prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products.
State law and the Alhambra Municipal Code currently prohibit smoking in any enclosed area to which the public is invited or permitted, including but not limited to, banks, educational facilities, health facilities, public transportation facilities, reception areas, lobbies, restaurants, retail food production and marketing establishments, retail stores, theaters, waiting rooms, offices, auditoriums, classrooms, conference and meeting room, and public parks (other than the Alhambra Golf Course).
Smoking within 20 feet of an entrance to a public building is also prohibited. There are certain exemptions for separately ventilated break rooms, tobacco shops, and private residences.
The prohibition on smoking in the Alhambra Municipal Code includes tobacco, any weed or plant, and vapor.
The City Council is considering expanding the areas where smoking is prohibited to include:
Entryways to non-public buildings
Private apartment and condo common areas (except in designated areas)
Within X feet of a vent into an enclosed area
Flavored Tobacco Products
Flavored tobacco products have come under scrutiny and criticism based upon their attractiveness to youth, particularly with the advent of "vaping" in recent years. While the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to study the health impacts of the use of flavored tobacco products, and possibly promulgate regulations in the future, the State of California adopted legislation prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products. That law has been challenged through a referendum process, and the voters of California will decide whether or not to leave the law in place, or repeal it, in November of 2022. In the meantime, several jurisdictions in California have adopted their own restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco, including, but not limited to the County of Los Angeles.
Sale of tobacco products, including vaping products, to minors are prohibited under State law. Notwithstanding that prohibition, use by minors is documented. Thus the move to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products entirely. While an ordinance can simply ban the sale, most jurisdictions that adopt prohibitions do so through a licensing program, where all sellers of tobacco products are required to have licenses issued by the City. Those license programs prohibit sale of flavored tobacco products. In that way, if a licensee sells prohibited products, they run the risk of losing their license to sell non-flavored products as well. A licensing program also allows for inspections and generates revenue for the administration of the enforcement program.
The City Council will discuss adopting the Ordinances during the next City Council Meeting on Monday, April 26 at 6 pm.
April 28, 2021 Update: Both the smoking restriction and the tobacco retail license passed during the First Reading of the Ordinances during the April 26, 2021, City Council Meeting. Both items will be back on the agenda for a second reading and possible adoption at the next City Council meeting on Monday, May 10, 2021.
Update: During the May 10th City Council Meeting, the Council passed both ordinances. The Smoking restrictions will be effective June 20, 2021. Starting January 1, 2022, retailers will have to obtain a valid Tobacco Retailer's license in order to sell tobacco products in Alhambra. Beginning July 1, 2022, the sale of flavored tobacco products are prohibited.