A series of new tobacco sales regulations passed its first vote Tuesday night as the Sonoma City Council voted unanimously in favor of them.
Chief among the changes is a prohibition on any new retailers selling tobacco products. Currently, there are 15 tobacco retailers in the city, and should the proposal pass its second reading, all of them would be required to get a new license in order to keep selling tobacco, one that costs $246 per year. Revenue raised from those license fees would go to funding an underage sting program in the city and enforcement of tobacco related laws.
In addition, tobacco product advertisements would be prohibited, and the sale of cheap, flavored tobacco products would have new restrictions placed on them. A new minimum price of five dollars would be required for the sale of any individual cigar, while the majority of flavored tobacco would be prohibited.
The Press-Democrat reports that approximately 20 people attended the city council meeting to speak on the matter, including a number of tobacco and e-cigarette retailers who opposed the proposal.
The Sonoma City Council next meets on June 1, and if passed the new rules would go into effect on Sept. 1.
Sonoma has a population of approximately 11,000 people and is located 45 miles north of San Francisco.