Chula Vista City Council is poised to vote on an ordinance that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products during a city council meeting Tuesday evening. 

If the ordinance is approved, Chula Vista would join Imperial Beach, the unincorporated County of San Diego, and the City of San Diego in banning the sale of flavored tobacco products. City officials plan to cast their decision on Sept. 13 at 5 p.m. 

“My granddaughter recently confided in me that she is very addicted to tobacco,” Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said to local media during a news conference. “We can actually see a physical difference.” 

If Chula Vista City Council approves the ordinance, it will go into effect on Jan.1. 

In August 2020, the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 793 (SB 793), which Governor Gavin Newsom signed on Aug. 28, 2020. This bill prohibits a tobacco retailer, or any of the tobacco retailer’s agents or employees, from selling, offering for sale, or possessing with the intent to sell or offer for sale, a flavored tobacco product or a flavor enhancer.  

A proposed referendum was submitted to the Attorney General of California on August 31, 2020. It qualified for the ballot on January 22, 2021, putting SB 793 on hold until the November 2022 general election. 

Due to the uncertainty of the statewide prohibitions, many local jurisdictions have moved forward to adopt local restrictions to protect youth in their community from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine addiction. 

Since then, other cities in the Golden State have banned the sale of flavored tobacco, including but not limited to San Jose, Sacramento County, and Los Angeles.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 4 million youth were active users of flavored tobacco products in 2020. The latest data shows that over 2 million kids used e-cigarettes in 2021, according to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, and 85% of them use flavored tobacco products. 

The campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates that 6,800 kids under 18 become new daily smokers each year. 

Local leaders report that one in four San Diego high school students use e-cigarettes.

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