On Tuesday, September 13th, the city of Chula Vista unanimously voted 4-0 to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products. This comes after city council members listened to dozens of testimonies and comments from local residents and business owners.

Business owners asked the city council to consider the economic impacts the ban would have on their businesses and noted they only sell flavored tobacco products legally to individuals who are of age to purchase or use the products. Ultimately, this led the business owners to ask the city council members to vote against the ban or to hold off until November when the statewide vote would take place.

Arkan Somo

Arkan Somo, Director of Government and Public Relations of the NMA, said in an interview with CBS 8 News, “We are really only two months away from the whole state of California, every citizen is going to tell them what they think and what they believe is this ban will happen or not. By the time this ordinance is implemented it will be less than a month away. I want to know what the urgency was.”

Members of the NMA alongside other retailers asked the city council to hold off on the ban at least until the November election where the people would have a chance to vote on the matter.  After listening to public comments from both sides, city councilmembers unanimously voted to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in the city of Chula Vista. Mayor Casillas Salas indicated her support for this ban.

The ban would still need a second reading, however if it does pass the ban would take effect on January 1, 2023. Banning the sale of flavored tobacco products would not only have an economic effect on small businesses but would also strip away the freedom from individuals who wish to lawfully buy and sell flavored tobacco products.

The NMA stands in opposition to this ban as not only would our members suffer from this decision as well as the local community. This ban would halt the sale of hundreds of products, simply pushing customers to neighboring cities or illicit markets to purchase their preferred products. This could ultimately lead to the closure of many retail shops, of which many undertook tremendous efforts to remain open during a global pandemic to serve their community.