The days of flavored tobacco being available for sale in Los Angeles appear to be numbered, as on Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an ordinance banning the sale of all flavored tobacco except for flavored shisha tobacco sold in existing hookah lounges that have their own ventilation system.

The ordinance, which was passed by the city council in early June by a 12-0 vote, is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, though it could face legal challenges before that date arrives. It could also come after a statewide ban on the sale of flavored tobacco might be in place, as voters will decide the matter as part of the November election. If voters approve a statewide ban, it could be in effect as early as Dec. 8.

Premium cigars did not receive any exemption in the city’s ban, nor did any products that use menthol, which has been a controversial component of similar bans. The ordinance does not prohibit the possession or use of flavored tobacco products. Estimates released as part of the ordinance’s passage have said there are approximately 4,500 retailers in the city that will be affected by the ban.

The ban that California’s voters will decide includes an exemption for both shisha tobacco as well as large flavored cigars, though in order to be exempt these cigars would need to have a wholesale price of at least $12, meaning they would retail for around $37 given California’s high tax rate on cigars.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration is also moving forward with plans to ban flavored cigars throughout the U.S., having its announced its intention to do so in April.

Patrick Lagreid

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.