San Joaquin County Public Health Services wants to know what people think about a proposal to ban the sales of e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco products and fine anyone who sells them to underage buyers in unincorporated areas of the county.

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors asked for the ban to be drafted as a way to combat the growing use of addictive vaping and e-cigarette products by youths and young adults.

The ordinance would restrict flavored tobacco and e-cigarette products, including menthol and 15,000 other flavors that opponents say are designed to appeal to young people.

The county’s draft ordinance is posted at the Smoking and Tobacco Outreach/Prevention Program website.

Anyone can give feedback on the ordinance by emailing written comments to stopp@sjcphs.org. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. June 19 to be included for consideration by the board of supervisors.

People can also share their opinion during a virtual community engagement session from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday on the WebEx online platform. 

The public health staff will give an overview of the proposed ban. After that, there will be a moderated public comment session. People who comment during the session will be asked to give their comments in writing.

To register before the event, go to bit.ly/SJCflavors, or join the discussion in progress without registering at bit.ly/3gLGVhv.

Efforts to curb flavored tobacco sales and vaping began in September when San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar called for a sweeping countywide ban.

Later that month, the district attorney announced an investigation into the e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc., based in San Francisco.

At a December meeting of the Tracy City Council, city employees were told to begin work on a local law banning the sale of flavored tobacco products that many people have claimed target teens and young adults. Vaping devices would not be affected by the city’s proposed ban.

Under state law, no tobacco or vaping products can be sold to people younger than 21, with the exception of active military service members who are at least 18 years old.

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