Another day, another flavor ban. Berkeley, CA is introducing a flavor ban similar to San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, and Contra Costa County. The first hearing on this matter will be on September 26th at 4PM at the Berkeley City Hall in the Council Chambers, located at 2134 Martin Luther King JR. Way. It’s item 32 (out of 36) on their agenda so it is likely that it will be a late night before this item comes up.
I know that traditionally and historically Berkeley has been an impossible area to mobilize vapers and store owners. Not to mention that I believe Berkeley only has one or two actual vapor retail stores left. But it is still crucial to have YOUR voices heard. If you can be there or know of folks there who might want to engage on this issue, let me know ASAP.
Please keep in mind that fighting this local bans is because of a much greater threat and bigger picture. Tobacco Control organizations are pushing for these flavor bans, using model ordinances written by Change Lab Solutions, for which they got paid $4.1 million from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (the charitable arm of big pharmaceutical Johnson & Johnson), in an attempt to create a patchwork of slightly different flavor bans throughout the State. Their end game goal here is to use that as an argument to introduce a State bill that would ban the sale of all flavored tobacco (and thus vapor!) products throughout the State. Fighting local bans is a means of preventing them from having enough local support to do this.
Below is a link to the council members, their districts, and their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. If you can’t be at the hearing, and even if you can, please take the time to explain to them respectfully why it’s a bad idea to include vapor products in this ordinance.