LOS ANGELES – Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco in the city, with an exception for hookah lounges that meet certain conditions, the mayor’s office said Monday. California voters will ultimately decide the fate of flavored tobacco sales in November.
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved the ordinance June 1. It will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and it does not ban the possession or use of flavored tobacco for people over the age of 21.
In June of last year, the council directed the city attorney to draft an ordinance to ban flavored tobacco and menthol cigarette sales in the city, but exempted hookah tobacco products at existing lounges.
Under the ordinance, existing smoke lounges will be able to sell hookah products for on-site or off-site consumption, but the city’s 4,500 tobacco retail stores will be banned from selling flavored tobacco, including hookah tobacco.
That amendment, which passed last year eight votes to six, came as the City Council faced demands from the National Hookah Community Association to exempt hookah from the ordinance, calling it a cultural tradition.
There have been no public comments by the members of the City Council who smoke the very product that is now banned for sale throughout their district.