County Votes to Ban Sale of Vaping Devices and Flavored Smoking Products
The County Board of Supervisors has passed a vote opting for new restrictions to be implemented regarding the sale of flavored smoking products and electronic vaping devices. The vote also prohibits smoking in outdoor dining spaces residing in San Diego’s unincorporated areas.
The restrictions will have to pass a second reading later this month, and if passed, will go into effect February 28, with enforcement beginning July 1. The ban is in response to a number of vaping-related illnesses popping up around the country, along with 57 reported deaths nationwide.
At least 43 cases of the mysterious vaping-related illness have been reported in San Diego County. While no deaths have been reported as of yet, every case has led to patients being hospitalized.
After doctors first began reporting a number of severe vaping-related lung injuries, there have been more than 2,602 cases nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This has sparked widespread alert among public health experts, who have scrambled to implement new measures protecting and alerting people about the dangers of vaping.
The San Diego County ban will include a prohibition on the sale of all flavored smoking products, with products like vanilla, mint, mango, and bubblegum no longer being available at smoke shops. The ban on electronic smoking devices will remain in effect for at least one year, or until the CDC indicates that the risks posed by vaping have been properly mitigated.
The ban on vaping in outdoor dining areas is expected to cut back on secondhand smoke exposure for both dining patrons and employees of the restaurant industry. The ban will also apply to vaping near food trucks.
The County will be implementing a new tobacco licensing program that will be used to ensure merchants who sell tobacco products are adhering to these new ordinance changes. It will also be used to guarantee that retailers are not selling tobacco products to minors.