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Santa Maria group proposing ban on tobacco products in city

Posted at 7:15 PM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 22:34:30-04

A group in Santa Maria is localizing the battle against e-cigarettes by proposing a ban on tobacco products in the city.

Fighting Back Santa Maria plans to go in front of the Santa Maria City Council to call for an ordinance banning e-cigarettes.

The proposal comes just as Santa Barbara County saw an increase in teenagers using vape products.

Tobacco Prevention Program Coordinator Shantel Hover-Jones said kids are getting more creative at concealing e-cigarettes.

“Kids are sneaking them into schools using them in the classroom a lot of these devices are really easy to conceal,” she said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration calls the e-cigarette issue in the county an epidemic.

It said it is ready to accelerate the review of e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products.

“We remain committed to tackling the epidemic of youth vaping using all available regulatory tools at our disposal,” The FDA said in a statement on its website. “We will continue to take vigorous enforcement actions aimed at ensuring e-cigarettes and other tobacco products aren’t being marketed to, or sold to, kids.”

The Executive Director of Fighting Back Santa Maria Edwin Weaver said he just wants to see change.

“We’re asking the citizens of Santa Maria to take charge of their community by asking our city council to implement an ordinance that would include a retail tobacco license for all distributors of tobacco products and a ban on all flavored cigarettes products in our community,” Weaver said.

Santa Barbara County is creating a model ordinance for the ban, giving technical support to Santa Maria City staff and giving them a lot of education materials to create the ordinance.