Tonight the Compton City Council voted 4-0 to pass an ordinance that bans e-cigarettes and vape but provides an exemption for menthol cigarettes.
The city received an inordinate amount of feedback from the community on the subject with the community divided on what the city was proposing.
The proposed ban on flavored tobacco and menthol cigarettes hid behind children to create the ban that didn’t take into account the number of adults who are legally allowed to purchase tobacco products which.
Councilwomen Michelle Chambers and Tana McCoy stood firm in their support of the option to ban e-cigarettes and vape but not touch menthol cigarettes.
They both explained their district residents and business owners don’t want the government to interfere with their legal right to smoke. Chambers and McCoy recognize that children shouldn’t smoke, but cautioned they were not willing while to infringe on the rights of adults.
Mayor Aja Brown provided statistical data that showed the consistent decline in cigarette use, while e-cigarette/vaping use has gone up in the nation’s youth. The data overwhelmingly showed that the youth had a preference to vaping and not menthol cigarettes.
Despite her initial objections, Councilwoman Emma Sharif made it clear she was against the youth using e-cigarettes and vaping and supporting the portion of the ban directly related to those items, but wanted to be clear that the council members were not telling the public they couldn’t smoke.
Targeting the e-cigarette/vaping tools was a no-brainer for this council and the city council made the right choice in preserving the right to smoke by adult age Compton residents. City Attorney Damon Brown reiterated his offices plans to enforce the ban as voted on by the council.
This author doesn’t always agree with the actions taken by this council but applaud their efforts to strike a balance for the residents continued choice to sell and/or use menthol cigarettes while ensuring the youth don’t have access to e-cigarette and vaping mechanisms within city limits.
Councilman Issac Galvan was not present for tonight’s meeting.