Alameda, Calif. Passes Flavored Tobacco Ban, Retailer Licenses

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The ban on flavored tobacco in the San Francisco Bay Area has found another supporter, as this week the city of Alameda passed a ban that will go into effect on July 1, 2019.

While it seemed geared specifically towards menthol cigarettes, it applies to all tobacco products that contains a constituent that imparts a characterizing flavor, defined as “a taste or aroma, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, imparted prior to or during consumption of a tobacco product or any byproduct produced by the Tobacco Product including, but not limited to, tastes or aroma relating to menthol, mint, wintergreen, fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb or spice; provided, however, that a tobacco product shall not be determined to have a Characterizing Flavor solely because of the use of additives or flavorings or the provision of ingredient information.”

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Additionally, the ordinance requires that any tobacco retailer licensed by the state will now have to get a license from the city as well, with fees yet to be determined. However, it such retailer’s business is located within 300 feet of a public or private K-12 school, a purchaser of such business could not thereafter sell tobacco products unless the business were sold within three years of the adoption of the ordinance. Any pharmacy that currently sells tobacco products will also be prohibited from continuing to do so after July 1, 2019.

The city is also reducing the number of tobacco retailers in the city, as any person not currently holding a state license to sell tobacco products will only be eligible to obtain a city license if the number of city-licensed tobacco retailers drops to less than 32. According to city documents, there are currently approximately 50 such retailers in the city.

A number of other cities have approved similar bans, including Oakland and San Francisco, where voters approved a ban originally passed by the city’s Board of Supervisors.

Alameda is located due south of Oakland and to the east of San Francisco, and is home to nearly 80,000 residents.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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