The Dublin City Council agreed unanimously to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and electronic smoking devices used for vaping.
Councilwoman Jean Josey made the motion for the ban at the Council’s Jan. 14 meeting. The vote was unanimous. Josey said the matter is personal with her. She has a close relative who has a vaping problem. The ordinance takes effect in March, but the city won’t be enforcing it until July 1, to give Dublin’s 30 tobacco merchandizers a chance to clear out current supplies.
The merchants were notified about the proposed ban. One was present in the audience, and said he had no objection to the ban. The ban does not affect the sale of flavored tobacco products, such as cigars, cigarettes and chewing tobacco, as well as menthol-flavored tobacco, which has FDA approval.
One target of Dublin’s ban is flavored tobacco. Critics say its colorful appearance and fruity flavors can put young people on the road to cigarette addiction.
The other ban focuses on electronic smoking devices used in vaping. They can resemble smoked cigarettes, pens, or other devices and hold the “e-juice,” which is inhaled into the lungs.
A battery in it heats the e-liquid into an aerosol, which is inhaled into the lungs, then exhaled.
According to the website of the nonprofit Center on Addiction, a national organization, the aerosol is often mistaken for water vapor. However, it really consists of fine particles, many of them amounts of oils and toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer and respiratory and heart diseases.
As of Jan. 14, 2,668 people have been hospitalized with vaping-related lung injuries. Sixty deaths have been recorded, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
A parade of speakers spoke out at the council meeting, including Dublin parents and students, and residents of Livermore, which has adopted a similar ban.
One parent said that she has a daughter in college. She noted that her own generation may have been the first to be nicotine-free, but now her daughter’s generation has been addicted by the tools of the tobacco industry.
A student at Dublin High School said that one of her teachers was crying when students walked into her classroom. The teacher was mourning a former student who died from using a laced vaping product.
Another speaker said that data in a national survey showed that 12% of high school seniors engage in vaping. Another audience member stated that she saw high school students vaping in a car parked outside one of the Dublin tobacco shops.
CHILD-CARE CENTER OK’D FOR GRAFTON
On another item, the Council approved a three-building project that will complete the final stage of a three-stage plan at the southeast corner of Dublin Boulevard and Grafton Street on 12 acres.
The project includes two retail buildings intended to appeal to pedestrians, and includes dining and a day-care center. The Planning Commission voted 4-1 in December against the project, citing its dissatisfaction with on-site traffic circulation, including how the drop-off and pick-up daycare area would function.
Councilman Shawn Kumagai said he respected the commission’s findings, but thought that the concerns could be answered by imposing more restrictions on the developer, Eddie Li, whose architect appeared before the council as his representative.
Kumagai wanted three electrical vehicle recharge stations added to the project area. He also included a condition that pre-school teachers not bring children into the play area before 10 a.m., so guests at the nearby Aloft Hotel wouldn’t be disturbed.
Vice-mayor Arun Goel, a former traffic engineer for Alameda County Transportation Commission, voted against the motion. He felt that there would be too much traffic coming through from residential areas that will feed into the high school, which is due for construction on the East Side. That would cause problems for the nearby intersection, he said, noting that the traffic would happen in short bursts, perhaps for five minutes, which means a standard traffic study with one-hour or half-hour intervals would not pick it up. That would make it tougher to design a solution, he added.
Kumagai said that the problem is not one for Li’s development to solve, but for the school district and city to solve together when the high school opens.