Chico City Council votes to ban flavored tobacco sales


Meghan Kavenaugh is speaking to the city council and sharing her concerns about the ban. Photo credit: Mary Vogel

At Tuesday’s Chico City Council meeting, councilmembers voted 5-2 to stop the sale of flavored tobacco sales within city limits and received information of other sample ordinances passed in other cities.

Councilmembers Scott Huber, Karl Ory, Ann Schwab, Vice Mayor Alex Brown and Mayor Randall stone voted yes on the motion. Councilmembers Sean Morgan and Kasey Reynolds voted no.

Over 20 people voiced their concerns in the public comment period, some who run local vaping shops and are concerned about their businesses being affected.

Some local business owners were upset that the council voted to ban the sale of flavored tobacco. Owners from local businesses expressed their concerns that their businesses would be in danger because of the ban.

“We’ve been open for five years, we’ve never sold to a minor, we’ve tried everything in our power to keep everything out of children’s hands,” said Megan Kavenaugh, owner of A&M Vapes. “We don’t want kids vaping, we have no interest in pushing (them) on vaping.”

The city council’s main concern was how flavored tobacco sales are targeted towards children using candy-flavored tobacco. Megan Armstrong, an education specialist from Butte County Public Health, said that addictions to any substance tend to happen when someone tries them before the age of 19.

Steven Jensen, the Yolo County Health program manager, mentioned that the ban worked well in Yolo County and businesses have been unaffected.

“Our original ordinance only impacted 20 different stores and that was three years ago,” Jensen said. “Of those 20 stores none of them have gone out of business for this ban. (They’ll) have an impact but people can adapt and the health is a larger issue we believe then the impact of business.”

Kagenaugh is worried her business will suffer because of the ban.

“We’re gonna lose a lot of business, we will probably go under we’re a small mom-and-pop business it’s just me and my husband that own it,” Kavenaugh said. “We have two kids to support we have two kids to support we have a mortgage to pay, I don’t know.”

The internal affairs committee suggested that the city council create a retail licensing program and ban the sale of all types of flavored tobacco, including methanol-flavored. Councilmember Morgan agreed with this idea and mentioned it after public speaking finished, saying it would have been hypocritical to enforce a ban.

The council also interviewed applicants interested in serving on the new climate action commission. Seven members will be chosen to serve the commission — one of the applicants was Chico State geography professor Mark Stemen.

Julian Mendoza can be reached at o[email protected] or on Twitter @JulianMTheOrion.