On October 25th, in a 3-1 vote, the Board of Supervisors approved the final ordinance to ban sale of flavored tobacco products in the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. The effective date will be May 1, 2017 to help businesses deplete their existing inventory.
Research shows that the majority of youth tobacco users started with a flavored tobacco product. According to the Center for Disease Control, each day more than 3,200 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette. Here in Yolo County adult smoking rates are lower than the state average, but youth rates are higher. Other communities in California found that restricting access to flavored tobacco products, such as cigars, cigarillos, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes, resulted in a reduction of youth tobacco use.
While we have good enforcement measures in place to limit direct sales of tobacco products to minors, we are still faced with a significant problem. The use of tobacco products by Yolo County youth has tripled since 2007. Flavors such as bubble gum, vanilla and even "gummy bear" flavor are appealing to our young people. This ordinance is about reducing access to tobacco products that are marketed specifically to youth.
You can watch the Board of Supervisors discussion here. I view this as a sensible approach to reducing tobacco use by minors.