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Los Angeles Board of Supervisors votes to ban flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products

The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products, including menthol, in Los Angeles County, according to a news release.

“For decades, we were making incredible progress in decreasing tobacco use among young people. But flavored e-cigarettes have reversed that trend,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “By taking action now and banning the sale of flavored products that mask the smell and taste of tobacco, we may be able to save this next generation from the same terrible health effects of nicotine addiction that generations before them suffered from.”

The board meeting was attended by more than 100 students, as well as experts from organizations including the American Lung Association, American Heart Association, University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The preliminary vote was 5-0 in favor of the motion, confirmed Jethro Rothe-Kushel, Assistant Senior Deputy for Communications for Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

According to the news release, the approved ordinance also regulates smoke shops by establishing business licensing requirements and by further strengthening existing public health laws.

Across the country, there have been 530 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury related to e-cigarettes as of September 17, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Los Angeles board’s vote came on the same day that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker called for a temporary statewide ban on the sale of all e-cigarettes and vaping products.

Also on Tuesday, the California Department of Public Health released an advisory urging people “to refrain from vaping, no matter the substance or source, until current investigations are complete” regarding vaping-related lung illnesses across the country.

“We are seeing something that we have not seen before,” Dr. Charity Dean, acting state public health officer, said in the advisory. “There are numerous unknown factors at this time, and due to the uncertainty of the exact cause, it is our recommendation that consumers refrain from vaping until the investigation has concluded.”

The warning mirrors advisories from other public health officials at the state and national level, including the CDC.

“We are learning from this investigation that lung damage can happen very suddenly to people who vape, including people who have not been vaping for a long time, and young, healthy people who do not have lung disease or other health problems,” the advisory said.

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