Vaping (copy)

In this file photo, Ted Sisco demonstrates how he exhales vapor instead of smoke while using an e-cigarette at his shop on F Street.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors will consider a wide range of bans for tobacco and vaping products at its meeting on Tuesday, potentially kicking off a process that could drastically alter smoking behavior throughout the county.

In addition to banning the sales of items related to vaping, the county will also consider banning smoking in parks and on public sidewalks, or potentially an overarching ban on smoking outdoors.

“This is really a first step,” said Michelle Corson, spokeswoman for Kern County Public Health, which will present a list of potential options for supervisors to consider on Tuesday.

Supervisors are not expected to vote to implement any of the options on Tuesday.

“We’re going to be presenting these (options) for discussion,” Corson said. “If the board wished for us to begin to take action on one of the items we’ve presented, or any others that were to come up in the discussion, they would then send us off to do that.”

Supervisors could return at a later meeting to act on the options presented at Tuesday’s meeting.

Los Angeles and San Francisco counties have both banned sales of vaping products, while the city of Santa Barbara bans smoking in all public places and Del Mar in San Diego County bans smoking on sidewalks.

Supervisor Mike Maggard requested the Health Department develop the list in early October. He said at the time he was concerned about unregulated vaping products being sold in Kern County and marketed to children.

Several Kern residents have spoken out against the vaping ban. One woman emailed The Californian, saying supervisors would be acting like “Big Brother” if they enacted the ban.

The proposal comes after three vaping-associated lung injuries resulted in hospitalizations in Kern County.

As of Oct. 15, the Health Department says 1,479 pulmonary lung injury cases have been linked to vaping throughout the United States, of which 33 have resulted in death.

The Health Department says smoking is the No. 1 cause of death and disease, claiming the lives of 480,000 people in America each year.

In response to Maggard’s request, the Health Department prepared the following options.

Park restrictions: Supervisors could expand an existing county ordinance to prohibit smoking within 25 feet of any playground or sandbox area in a park, along with prohibiting smoking within 250 feet of any youth sports events in the park.

Sidewalk/outdoor smoking ban: In an effort to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, supervisors could prohibit smoking on sidewalks and sections of the street lined with a sidewalk, or institute an outdoor smoking restriction.

Density restrictions: Supervisors could limit where tobacco retailers can be located, banning retailers from being within 500 to 1,000 feet of youth-populated areas.

Minimum price: Cigarillos and inexpensive cigars under $5 could be banned. A minimum package size of 20 for “little cigars” and five for inexpensive cigars could be enforced.

Flavored tobacco ban: Supervisors could ban sales of tobacco flavors, including menthol, following the lead of Los Angeles County and San Francisco, according to the Health Department.

Vaping products ban: A study from the American College of Physicians indicated teens are more than seven times more likely to vape nicotine than adults, the Health Department said. Supervisors could ban the sale of vaping products throughout the county.

Supervisors recently heard a presentation by Students Working Against Tobacco, which claimed vaping was occurring in classrooms, and four out of five stores near schools sell flavored tobacco products, the Health Department said in its letter to supervisors.

The group asked supervisors to consider stricter tobacco policies.

Those policies will be under discussion on Tuesday.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

(9) comments

FrankSoto

Tobacco and Alcohol related deaths are in the millions, but the pay is good. All what we're seeing today is setting the stage towards the extortion of vape companies with taxes and fees, which will be passed to the consumer... the average joe who enjoys his vape. Threat to ban so vaping companies settle with high taxation.

REMUDA

Once worked for an aerospace company that limited smokers (pre-vaping) to an outside uncovered (no seats) painted 12X12 "square" in a passageway between buildings for their occasional 'break' periods ("white-collar" & "blue collar" mixed).

Since it was a SCIF(Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), many, who also took 'time-outs' in their cars soon learned the value of abstinence . . . on many levels.

Bodysnatcher

I’m not a smoker, but the war on tobacco is getting ridiculous. They can make all the ordinances they want, but who’s going to enforce them? The priorities in this state and now this county are so lopsided. What’s next, smoking banned in back yards or inside private residences? Perhaps passing new smoking ordinances will allow the BOS sleep better.

ISpy

Russia recently banned people from being able to smoke on their own apartment balconies...maybe we are following Russia's lead.

Moardeeb

Anti vaping hysteria. Smoking kills 480,000 people a year in the USA. Are you going to ban cigarettes? Hypocrites.

Phu Cue

Good luck with banning it on public sidewalks! I Joe taxpayer own that sidewalk just as much as one who doesn't smoke! This is just another bullshit POLICY that infringes on rights and creates revenue through extortion! 1F7T7G6

ISpy

Who did big tobacco tick off so badly? Vaping seemed to be going along fine until Phillip Morris jumped into the game...

All Star

It will become illegal to smoke in a park, but you can still sit on a park bench and inject yourself with heroin.

Mrknowitall

Ban it as widely as possible.

The serious n lung disorders—almost Two thousand cropped up almost at once—nation-wide. That ain’t a coincidence, that’s a dangerous pattern. Obviously just the tip of the iceberg. These kids don’t know better. But YOU do. Supervisors can save lives. Be brave. Be a role model. Be a hero. Be decent. Act as if your own kid was vaping. Do the right thing. Or live with the irreversible damage that you had the power to stop.

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