The sale of e-cigarette products in San Luis Obispo will be prohibited as of May 4.

City Council voted 5-0 to approve an ordinance banning all e-cigarette products, including vape juices, at a city council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 4. The ordinance will be implemented in 90 days, according to council documents

The city created the ordinance to protect minors from tobacco products, according to council documents

“If we can make [e-cigarette products] more difficult to get it in the community, we could be helping young people’s health,” councilmember Erica A. Stewart said. 

In July 2019, the U.S. District Court of Maryland ruled that all e-cigarette companies are required to submit their product to the FDA for review by May 12, 2020. The FDA will then have a year to test the products to determine if they are safe, according to an FDA news release

If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves non-flavored tobacco products, they will be legal in San Luis Obispo again, according to Assistant to the City Manager Ryan Betz.

“I think a lot of students vape on campus, and I think it’s going to make students either reconsider their choices or might have to find new mediums or new means of finding their tobacco,” political science junior and Associated Students, Inc. Chair Rob Moore, who attended the meeting, said

A new FDA ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarette products will go into effect Feb. 6, according to an FDA news release

Smoke shop owners urged city council to follow the new FDA rule instead of implementing their own law. 

If e-cigarettes are banned in some cities and not others, customers will go to those cities to buy these products, according to Cork ‘n’ Bottle manager Zack Kridi. 

“You’re going to give our neighboring cities and counties an edge over us,” Cork ‘n’ Bottle owner Tom Kridi said. “All we’re trying to do is be treated equally.” 

Smoke shops rely heavily on the sale of e-cigarette products and will suffer from the ban, owner of Smoke and Vape Fadi Mahmoud said in an interview with Mustang News. 

“We are going to close our businesses and nobody cares[s],” Mahmoud said at the city council meeting.  

Kridi said the ban also does not address the online sale of e-cigarette products. Unlike online, smoke shops and liquor stores check the ID cards of their customers and do not sell to minors, Kridi said.

“I’m realistic in knowing if people really want to do something that is not good for them, they will figure out a way to do it,” Stewart said. “I get that, but as far as us and our job as public safety and public health, our job is to try and keep the public as safe as possible.” 

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