The Gardena City Council unanimously approved a moratorium prohibiting significant tobacco retailers from establishing in the city during the March 28 regular city council meeting.
Proposition 31 was placed on the ballot soon after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 793, the Legislature’s bipartisan effort to crack down on e-cigarettes and other products popular with kids. The law banned the sale of certain flavored tobacco products in stores and vending machines, including menthol cigarettes, but with exceptions for hookah, premium cigars and loose-leaf tobacco.
Despite passage last November, little is being done to enforce the ban, particularly in Los Angeles County.
The ordinance was agendized as urgent due to the number of Significant Tobacco Retailers, businesses that principally sell tobacco related products, has increased significantly within the City from ten (10) in October 2021 to sixteen (16) in March 2023. The City Council is concerned about the proliferation of these types of businesses and the harmful effects of tobacco on the residents, and more specifically the youth, of the City.
The proliferation of these types of businesses and the harmful effects of tobacco on the residents, and more specifically the youth, is of concern to the City… The adoption of Urgency Ordinance 1850 would allow staff time to conduct the necessary research, hold study sessions if desired by the Council, and ultimately bring back an ordinance related to Significant Tobacco Retail businesses. Successful adoption of this Ordinance requires a 4/5 vote of the City Council and would become effective immediately for 45 days.”
Tobacco manufacturers have now introduced “non-menthol” cigarettes that retailers in nearby Inglewood have hidden behind potato chips to draw less attention to them.
Staff expects to also have an ordinance extending the interim ordinance for an additional 10 months and 15 days, as allowed per state law. Should even additional time be needed, the interim ordinance could then be extended one final time for an additional one-year period. Extensions also require a 4/5 vote and must be properly noticed.
Emilie St. John is a contributing writer for 2UrbanGirls.com and the Los Angeles Wave newspaper