Goodbye, flavored tobacco? San Jose considers product ban

3 mins read

San Jose council members are set to decide on the fate of the flavored tobacco products in the city.

Tobacco sellers across San Jose might soon let go of their leading products wrapped in attractive packaging claiming the smoke tastes like fruity Hawaii, mango, and berry fusion, among others.

“While it’s a dying industry, it’s a very powerful and potent one,” according to Mayor Sam Liccardo. “And more than ever, they are recognizing that new, young users are the key to maintaining their profits and power.”

The vote will be casted on Tuesday and the city council members have already convened a day ahead. The afternoon press conference was augmented with a visual aid showing John Oliver’s “Jeff the Diseased Lung.”

The law, if approved, orders new tobacco retailers to position within a thousand feet of education institutions and within 500-feet of another tobacco seller.

“I stand here as a mother. I stand here as someone with tremendous concern for the health of our children, and that is who we are doing all of this for,” Councilmember Pam Foley said. “We are advocating here for the kids.”

“Make no mistake,” she pointed out.

Tobacco-selling stores are voicing concern on the rule, with owner Najib Siddiqi saying being ordered to lower his product inventory can be a struggle for them to stay in business. Siddiqi, meanwhile, clears that they are one with the stand that children should be restricted in accessing these products.

“I will survive like one month, two months, three months,” Siddiqi shared to ABC7 News. “But after that, if I will see I’m losing money, like continuously, definitely, I will close down my store.”

“I will leave,” he added.

Other businesses have prepared ahead, like the Berryessa Smoke Shop which already started selling other items like clothing.

According to them, the ban will just send the customers to other cities to avail of their favorite tobaccos.

“They will drive for it,” Siddiqi said. “Either like 10 miles, 20 miles, 30 miles… they will drive for it. And they will go and they will get their product.”

If the ban will be approved by San Jose council members, a six-month period will be given to smoke retailers to diminish any banned items.