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SJ County may ban sale of e-cigarettes’ menthol cigs

The sale of e-cigarettes or any other electronic handheld vaping machine may be outlawed in San Joaquin County if a proposed ordinance that was announced this week is approved by the Board of Supervisors.

According to a release from San Joaquin Public Health Services, the draft ordinance – that would ban the sale of all e-cigarettes and handheld vaping units and accessories as well as flavored tobacco including menthol cigarettes – was distributed to the public for its consideration in advance of a community meeting next week to allow the public to voice input about the proposed restrictions.

The law would not apply to the county’s seven cities including Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop. Manteca’s elected leaders have toyed with the idea of banning e-cigarettes but opted to see what the county would do first in a bid to try to create some sense of uniformity throughout the county

Councilman Gary Singh indicated Tuesday he would favor bringing the issue back before the council once the county takes action.

However, he said he wants community input first including that from the 1,600-member American & Convenience Store Association that represents retailers throughout the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The association reportedly has no quarrel with banning e-cigarettes but doesn’t believe menthol cigarettes should be included in a ban.

The county proposal is being billed as an attempt to prevent underage tobacco and nicotine use after the availability and popularity of vaping cartridges exploded with young people over the last several years. That prompted the San Joaquin County District Attorney last year to announce that they were investigating San Francisco-based Juul Labs for false advertising related to their appeal to youth.

The ban, if implemented, would not bar the sale of cigarettes or traditional tobacco, but would make it illegal to sell all flavored tobacco products – noting in a release that it would include menthol cigarettes, which are immensely popular, as well as flavored e-cigarette cartridges and juices of which there are more than 15,000 flavors.

“We want to make sure all of our community members, including businesses, have their chance to voice their thoughts about this ordinance,” said San Joaquin County Public Health Officer Maggie Park in a release. “Our goal is to reduce youth access to tobacco products that are easily hooking our kids and have limited value to our community when their health impacts can have lifelong consequences.”

A draft of the ordinance, which is being released so that it can be reviewed by the public in advance of a June 10 meeting, can be viewed by visiting

A virtual community engagement event being held through the Cisco WebEx portal is scheduled for Wednesday, June 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. to allow the public to voice their concerns about the proposal and the potential impacts. Business owners that may be impacted by the ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes are encouraged to participate.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.