CITY HALL -- Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell issued this statement following the unanimous vote by his council colleagues on his initiative to better enforce tobacco sales to minors, including suspension of sales permits for local retailers.
“We have an obligation to protect the children in our communities, many of whom are starting their addiction to nicotine at too early an age,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “Thanks to the council action today, we will provide law enforcement with the tools to help curb sales to minors, and ultimately improve the health and lives of all Angelenos. It is crucial that the City continue to promote the enforcement of existing laws which prohibit the sales of tobacco products to minors, and protect children from being lured into illegal activity through the misconduct of adults.”
According to the California Department of Public Health, 36.8% of high school students in the state have smoked cigarettes by age of 14, and 64% of adult smokers began smoking before 18 years of age.
As Chair of the City’s Arts, Parks, Health Aging, and the Los Angeles River Committee over the last two years, O’Farrell has been a champion for anti-smoking laws, and has led the way to make Los Angeles one of the largest cities in the nation to regulate e-cigarettes, as well as update existing tobacco laws.
O’Farrells’s e-cigarette ordinance regulates the usage of electronic smoking devices where smoking is prohibited by law. The ordinance was used as a model for the statewide policy that is expected to be signed into law shortly.
The Council action today approves the report from the City Attorney [see Council file], and requests the City Attorney draft an ordinance based on the report.