With an extraordinary amount of deaths related to teens vaping e-cigarettes, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feurer is suggesting an outright ban on all tobacco products, including hookah.
The Los Angeles city council’s Health Committee is considering six different options to curb teens using tobacco related products, which has an unintended consequence for adults.
Councilman David Ryu, is the chair of the Health Committee, and is attempting to keep his name in the news, for his upcoming re-election, through tobacco and stopping campaign donations by developers.
Mark Pampanin, a spokesman for Councilmember David Ryu, chair of LA’s Health Committee, said Ryu’s ‘focus has been on ensuring that we pass a strong restriction that keeps young people from being roped into Big Tobacco.’
Related: City Councilman Proposes Smart Compromise on E-Cigarette Products
Instead of proposing stricter regulations on enforcing retailers to adhere to strict guidelines to sell the products, Feurer wants no exemptions granted. The inclusion of hookah has outraged owners of hookah lounges which typically have a security guard stationed at the entrance.
Arnie Abramyan, chair of a campaign group representing LA’s hookah lounges, said: ‘Hookah is a social ritual that is an ancient tradition for many minority communities which has become popular in LA due to the growing diversity of our population.
‘It is nothing like cigarettes and vapes.’
Abramyan pointed the low rate of young people using hookah. CDC data released today showed that just 3.4 percent of teens use hookah, compared to a third of teens who vape, 7.6 percent who use cigars, and 5.8 percent who use cigarettes.
‘There are good reasons for hookah’s lack of appeal to minors,’ Abramyan said.
‘It can only be smoked through a large water pipe which cannot be concealed or carried around, which takes time and patience to prepare and about an hour to smoke.
LA’s proposed flavored tobacco ban comes months after the California Senate rowed back plans for a state-wide ban, adding a clause that made hookah bars exempt because it is ‘part of Middle Eastern tradition.’
The bill lost the support of the American Lung Association in California, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, groups that are scrambling to curb rising rates of teen tobacco use.