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Berkeley, Calif. Moves to Ban Flavored Tobacco

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The clamps continue to tighten on flavored tobacco sales, as the Berkeley City Council moved to advance a bill that would ban the sale of such products as of the middle of 2019.

The item was on the council’s consent agenda at Tuesday’s meeting, which received unanimous support. Included in the proposal is a ban on menthol products, as well as a prohibition on the sale of single or small package cigars and little cigars. Councilmember Cheryl Davila, who authored the ban, said in a letter to her fellow council members that the proposal “recognizes the targeting of young people, and African American young people disproportionately, by marketing and sales of flavored tobacco as well as sales of individual or small package cigars or little cigars.”

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Specifically, all tobacco products would be required to be sold in their original packaging while little cigars would be required to be sold in a minimum of a 20-count package. Cigars would be required to be sold in packages containing at least six cigars, though there would be an exemption for cigars with a yet-to-be-determined minimum price, which would seemingly exempt traditional premium cigars from the requirement.

The bulk of the changes are proposed to go into effect on June 11, 2019, which would give retailers a chance to sell off or otherwise move existing merchandise on hand.

Berkeley is located 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, which is also considering a similar age increase. It is home to just over 122,000 residents as well as the University of California at Berkeley, which has an undergraduate population of just over 30,000 students. In 2016, Berkeley approved an increase to the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21-years-old.

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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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