While a statewide ban on flavored tobacco products won’t be decided until the November 2022 elections, the patchwork ban being implemented by cities and counties across the state continues to grow, as this week the Walnut Creek City Council unanimously passed its own ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products.
The ban, which is the first to be passed by a city in Contra Costa County, applies to flavored tobacco products, notably including mentholated products, as well as flavored tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes and vaping pens. The ban will also prohibit the sale of devices that turn tobacco into vapor for inhalation. It is similar to a ban passed by the county in November 2019, though that only applied to the unincorporated areas of the county.
It does include a lone exemption for retailers of hookah tobacco, provided they only allow persons over the age of 21-years-old to enter the store and they comply with all other sales regulations.
The ban goes into effect in 31 days after its passage, but the city has said that it will not begin enforcing it for a period of five months after that effective date. Retailers will face a $100 fine for each offense and potential legal action.
Walnut Creek is home to approximately 70,000 residents and is located about 17 miles northeast of Oakland.