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Council approves bans on flavored tobacco sales, open campfires on public property

365体育投注Tuesday’s video-conferenced Davis City Council meeting may have been conducted under the shadow of a pandemic and shelter-in-place but council members didn’t limit their agenda to only coronavirus-related matters.

365体育投注The council also approved bans on the sale of flavored tobacco within the city and the use of open campfires on public property without a permit.

Passage of the flavored tobacco ordinance came a month after the council unanimously voiced their support for such a ban and asked city staff to return with an ordinance for their approval.

Back in February, the council held a public hearing where county health officials as well as members of the public urged a ban on flavored tobacco sales, though local retailers — some of whom are now shuttered thanks to the statewide shelter in place — pleaded with council members to consider the downsides for them, namely, the loss of business.

And while council members sympathized with business owners at that February meeting, they also unanimously voiced their support for a ban in order to curb juvenile use in particular.

The ordinance, which will take effect Sept. 1 in order to allow local retailers to sell off existing inventory, brings the city of Davis in line with the county and other nearby cities that have previously voted to prohibit sales of flavored tobacco products.

365体育投注All have done so because of evidence that the products are targeted at youth and have reversed what had been a steady decline in tobacco use by children.

That marketing scheme, highlighted by county staff in a presentation to the council in February, includes not just candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products but also packaging that mimics juice boxes and other sweet treats.

365体育投注Under the ordinance approved Tuesday, local sales would be prohibited for any tobacco product that “imparts a characterizing flavor to the tobacco product or smoke produced by the tobacco product, either by the addition of artificial or natural flavors or an herb or spice, including menthol, strawberry, grape, orange, clove, cinnamon, pineapple, vanilla, coconut, licorice, cocoa, chocolate, cherry, or coffee.”

The ban covers flavored tobacco or nicotine, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco but does not cover FDA-approved nicotine products used for treating dependence. Additionally, the ordinance does not ban the use of products, only the sale.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance on Tuesday.

Likewise, council members unanimously supported a request from Police Chief Darren Pytel to ban open campfires on public lands where such fires are not already prohibited.

Current city code banning open campfires in parks and greenbelts except in approved barbecues was extended to prohibit open campfires on any public land.

“This comes as a result of an increasing number of complaints regarding campfires being used for both warmth and for cooking on public lands that are not currently designated as parks, greenbelts or open spaces,” Pytel told the council.

365体育投注“We have a lot of land that’s publicly owned … including our drainage canals, along the railroad tracks … the South Davis areas out near Putah Creek. And currently there is no regulation that prohibit campfires out there,” Pytel said.

365体育投注As the city staff report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting noted, many of those areas have thick brush, trees, grasses, weeds, combustibles and other fire fuel that present a significant fire risk when open campfires are lit near them.

365体育投注“Which is really a safety risk,” Pytel said.

The ordinance unanimously approved by the council on Tuesday now prohibits the setting, ignition or maintenance of an open campfire on public property without first obtaining a permit from the police chief.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy. 

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