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Monterey County Board of Supervisors to consider flavored tobacco, e-cigarette ban – Monterey Herald

SALINAS — The Monterey County Board of Supervisors will consider a ban on electronic smoking devices and flavored tobacco products during its meeting on Tuesday after receiving a presentation from the Monterey County Health Department.

In the staff report for Tuesday’s meeting, the health department recommends a complete e-cigarette ban in all areas of unincorporated Monterey County as well as a complete ban on flavored tobacco products in all areas of unincorporated Monterey County.

In January 2020, the U.S. FDA placed a ban on cartridge-based electronic cigarette products in fruit, dessert and mint flavors. But the ban provides an exemption for menthol and tobacco flavors as well as refillable electronic cigarettes and the ban contains a loophole that permits flavors to be sold in single-use devices disposed of after one use.

Pacific Grove in January 2020 became the first jurisdiction in Monterey County to pass a comprehensive tobacco retail license ordinance that prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products.

According to the Monterey County Health Department, there is increasing evidence that a large amount of nicotine salts within electronic cigarettes may be responsible for increasing nicotine addiction among youth.

With traditional cigarettes and older types of electronic cigarettes, the smoke and high nicotine levels can appear harsh for users, resulting in coughing, dizziness and even nausea. These negative effects deterred many people enough to keep them from becoming regular users. Nicotine salts prevent these side effects, which means youth who try electronic cigarettes are more likely to continue using them regularly and become addicted.

The staff report states that market trends show an increase in sales of electronic cigarettes that deliver high levels of nicotine more efficiently and with less irritation, which makes it easier for young people to start using them and get addicted. The industry targets youth with sweet and fruit-flavored products. Research shows adolescents consider flavor the most important factor when trying electronic cigarettes and are more likely to initiate use with flavored products. Overall, data illustrates electronic cigarette use more than doubled among middle school and high school students from 2017 to 2019.

Changing chairs

The Board of Supervisors are scheduled to nominate and elect the new chair and vice chair and present a plaque to outgoing Chair Wendy Root Askew.

The board will also consider continuing the calendar year 2021 assignments of members of the Board of Supervisors and county staff to serve on boards, committees, and commissions into calendar year 2022. The staff report recommends the board provide direction to return at the Feb. 8 meeting for further discussion and approval of appointments for calendar year 2022

Big Sur roadside camping

The board is scheduled to receive a preliminary analysis report on increasing fines for people who camp illegally in vehicles on roadsides in Big Sur after Supervisor Mary Adams made a referral last month. The proposal would raise the fine to $1,000, making it consistent with littering fines and significantly greater than the cost of established, permitted camping areas within the Big Sur area.

The law currently states that camping is banned along Highway 1 between the Carmel River and the San Luis Obispo County border, with a fine of $250.

A new ordinance would include requisite signage along Highway 1. Enforcement would fall on the various law enforcement agencies in the area such as the Sheriff’s Office, State Parks and the California Highway Patrol.

Law enforcement PR

On the consent agenda, the board will consider adding two years and $60,000 to an existing contract with Cole Pro Media for “on-camera media training, crisis management, etc.” While the staff report approved by Sheriff Steve Bernal calls the Vacaville-based company “a trailblazing transparency engagement advisor,” a review of the company’s work by the Vallejo Sun found the “company’s advice appears designed to help police agencies evade transparency and accountability and to deflect scrutiny by traditional news media.”

Cole Pro Media has worked with dozens of police departments and sheriff’s offices in California, including the city of Pacific Grove when it faced community pressure over a police officer’s alleged ties to a right-wing militia group.

Tuesday’s meeting is set to start at 9 a.m. and start public agenda items at 10:30 a.m. To view the meeting, go to https://montereycty.zoom.us/j/224397747.

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