Pending a final vote by the Carpinteria City Council, a new moratorium (Ordinance No. 731) would now ban the sale of vaping products and their use in all public spaces within the city of Carpinteria, a few minutes’ drive south of Santa Barbara. The moratorium was met with a unanimous vote by the council to move forward late last month, and will be held as law after a final vote. The ban is officially a “temporary prohibition on the sale of all flavored tobacco products … and on the use of all electronic nicotine delivery systems in public spaces in the City of Carpinteria.” Banned products includes “all liquids, pods, juices, or other products used in electronic nicotine delivery systems.”
This move is part of a larger movement to stem the use of vaping among youth in California, officially initiated by Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order to confront the growing epidemic. This legislation also adds to a 2011 Carpinteria City ordinance that banned smoking in public places, as well as a 2013 regulation requiring tobacco retailers to hold license to sell their products in Carpinteria. More importantly, it nullifies an exception in the 2009 Tobacco Control Act, which banned the manufacture of flavored cigarettes but not flavored, non-cigarette tobacco products including vaping paraphernalia. More recently, Carpinteria Councilmember Lee initially suggested the City Council to address the growing epidemic this past June, the result being that the adoption of the moratorium is scheduled for Nov. 12, 2019.
The Council’s staff report cites numerous reasons for the ban, among them protecting public health and safety. In their October meeting, the City Council “concluded that the current lung injury outbreak as well as the growing epidemic of teen ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) use warrants the City to consider its options for an immediate … response.” However, the current moratorium is only a temporary measure: it would simply allow time for the creation of new legislation for the regulation of ENDS products while stemming the issue at hand.
Considerations of financial and legal matters were also included in the report: given that there is such a small number of existing tobacco retailers within the city and the threat to public health was as severe as it was, the Council decided it was well within its power to put forward such an abrupt ban on these products. “The proposed moratorium is necessary to ensure the protection of the general public and children, which national studies have shown are particularly vulnerable to flavored tobacco and evolving tobacco delivery systems,” the report states. “Since the State and federal authorities have not yet acted to initiate similar bans, nor introduced legislation to protect the public health and youth, the need for the proposed moratorium is current and immediate.”
Adoption of the moratorium, however, is but one of three options stated by the report, those options being: approve and adopt Ordinance No. 731; direct that staff make revisions to Ordinance No. 731, or bring the matter back at a later date for further consideration; direct that the matter be tabled. These will be considered at the Council’s meeting Nov. 12.