Credit: Austin Linthicum | Mustang News

The City of San Luis Obispo has long-term plans to move forward with considering banning flavored e-cigarettes, following in the footsteps of Arroyo Grande and Morro Bay.

The council will be hosting a study session on Jan. 21, 2020 that will provide council members and community members a chance to discuss further steps and alternative solutions to limit the sale of e-cigarettes and vapes.

E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are smoking devices that mimic the act of smoking by having users inhale vaporized liquid nicotine created by heat, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon said she believes the ban will not have an impact at Cal Poly, but will affect the usage of vapes in public spaces and the sale and delivery of vape products.

Cal Poly implemented a smoke, vapor and tobacco-free policy on Sept. 1, 2017. This policy was implemented after the California State University released Executive Order 1108, a policy on systemwide smoke and tobacco-free environments, in April of 2017.

“Smoke free” is defined as banning “cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and other smoke-emanating products including e-cigarettes, vapor devices and other like products.” These devices are prohibited on all university properties, according to the policy.

Harmon said the city is looking into the possibilities of preventing online sales of vape products being delivered into the city.

Council Member Erica Stewart has been working with Vice Mayor Andy Pease to encourage conversations about the impact of vaping. Stewart has children in high school and college and said she has seen the negative health impacts. She said she hopes to improve health education in regards to smoking.

“I’ve been watching their friends vaping and seeing how prevalent it is and how difficult it is to stop,” Stewart said. “I don’t think we can stop it, but we can help slow the number of young people vaping as a whole.”

Harmon said the council will talk to smoke shops and businesses that may be affected by the establishment of new ordinances restricting e-cigarette sales. There will be a grace period spanning several months where smoke shops will be allowed to sell and exhaust their inventory. 

“Small businesses are affected easily by anything policy-wise and [we] want to understand how small businesses can work together,” Pease said. 

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