SACRAMENTO — Customers tend to flock to Habits Smoke & Vape in Sacramento.
“Most adults want the flavored stuff,” said manager Jonathan Wilkinson.
But Wilkinson worries soon the store will sit empty if they can no longer sell flavored tobacco products, which make up roughly 60 percent of their business.
“I think it’s unfair to take it away from people that are of age and that they can make that choice,” he told FOX40.
Sacramento City Council approved a proposal to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco within city limits.
“We’re not banning cigarettes and we’re not banning vaping products,” said Vice Mayor Eric Guerra. “What we are banning is the thing that we know addicts youth, which is the flavors. It’s the mangoes, the juicy fruits.”
The goal is to keep tobacco away from kids and teens.
“Flavored tobacco products are clearly being marketed beyond adults,” said Dr. Primo Lara, the director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The fact that the flavors that have been developed to promote these products, such as mango or bubble gum or unicorn.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 70 percent of middle and high schoolers who use tobacco have used a flavored product.
Dr. Lara calls it a public health hazard “because of the association with addiction and cancer risk.”
While Wilkinson agrees that kids shouldn’t be using tobacco, he told FOX40 banning flavors entirely isn’t the answer. He said the ban does nothing to address online sales or sales in neighboring cities.
“Find out where the kids are getting it from and then go after that. Not stores that are carding and doing everything by the law,” Wilkinson said.
There’s also an effort at the state level to pass a similar ban. Council members say that would be more effective because then people couldn’t just drive to another city to make a purchase.