Flavor ban, other tobacco sales changes pass Cupertino City Council

Following a first discussion earlier this month, Cupertino’s City Council passed changes to the city’s regulations on tobacco sales, including a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco within city limits.

The flavored tobacco ban, similar to those that have passed in cities across our region and the country, comes as part of a larger update to Cupertino’s tobacco ordinances. Other changes ban new tobacco retailers within 1000 feet of a school or within 500 feet of an existing tobacco retailer, ban sales at pharmacies and vending machines, and place new limits on storefront signage advertising tobacco sales.

Recent data from Santa Clara County health officials this summer showed a startlingly high rate of vaping use among local teenagers. More than 31 percent of teens reported having tried e-cigarettes, according to the information.

Cupertino has 23 tobacco retailers currently operating within city limits, seven of which are within 1000 feet of a school. Their ability to continue selling tobacco products does not change under the new distance rules.

These changes to Cupertino’s code mirror those made by several other nearby cities, including Los Gatos, Palo Alto, and Saratoga, as well as in the unincorporated sections of Santa Clara County.

One local group, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition for Health Against Tobacco (API-CHAT), praised the ordinance changes.

“Tonight Cupertino City Council demonstrated its commitment to the health of the City’s children by passing a strong Tobacco Retail Ordinance,” said Rosalyn Moya, API-CHAT’s Project Director.

Passed unanimously at the Council meeting on Tuesday, November 19, the ordinance takes effect 30 days after enactment, with enforcement beginning on July 1, 2020.