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LA County Supervisor’s: Out of Touch with the Use of Flavored Tobacco Products

GUEST COMMENTARY--African-Americans continue to bear the brunt of bad policy.  Whether its abortion rights, gentrification, gun control, and/or police brutality, Black lawmakers always ignore the unintended consequences of their voting power. 

Let’s be clear: 2Urbangirls DOES NOT support youth vaping – specifically with marketed flavors of ‘Cotton Candy’, ‘Bubblegum’, etc. However, we do want our community to be [fully] aware that we need to protect our youth from vaping; not for policy makers to take away our right of choice regarding purchasing and smoking cigarettes. 

LA County Supervisors are taking steps to regulate tobacco shops in Los Angeles County with an amended county ordinance that provides the framework to track and enforce the ban of the flavored tobacco products.  Are the Supervisors taking into account economic consequences it brings to shop owners, or members of the African-American community who purchase the products?  Will business owners have less money to contribute towards their respective campaigns?

2UrbanGirls is shocked to learn that LA County doesn’t already require tobacco shops to hold a business license and are using a proposed amendment to disguise the ban of flavored tobacco products being sold in their shops.

Law enforcement defines a tobacco shop as a business where tobacco products represent at least 70% of the stores merchandise.

Flavored tobacco creates an easier way to ingest the product by making it taste better. 

LA County is designing this ordinance under the guise of keeping “youth” from falling victim to the tobacco industry, which the ordinance already adequately addressed with creating a distance from where the shops can operate, however, to outright ban a product has further reaching consequences than the youth.

It’s akin to President Donald Trump banning Americans from visiting certain countries or verbally attacking minorities simply because he can.

The LA County ordinance goes too far in deciding which legal products can or cannot be sold in a tobacco shop, to keep “youth” away.  Have they given thought to our military personnel who are home on leave?  The formerly incarcerated who have come home?  The average person who enjoys a smoke to/from work?  I don’t think so.

LA County Board of Supervisors continue to show they are SEVERELY out of touch with the African-American community and continue to be a pawn in outside forces to our detriment. 

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ involvement is particularly concerning when he will soon run for the 10th Council District of Los Angeles – which is predominantly African-American – don’t need to elect someone who drags their feet on addressing homelessness, and outright ignoring gentrification.  This is another example that MRT’s leadership can no longer be trusted by African-American’s and perhaps a robust campaign to ensure his defeat for City Council takes shape, expeditiously.

Overall, the government, both local and national, continues to slowly take away our right to choose.  Freedoms pertaining to abortion rights are already sweeping across the nation and now our right to freedom of choice of what we can/cannot legally purchase is being attacked.

What’s next?

(2UrbanGirls are CityWatch contributors and have has been cited by Compton Herald, Daily Breeze, Daily News, Inglewood Today, Intersections South LA, KCRW, KPCC, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, LA Watts Times, Mercury News, Orange County Register and The Atlantic.)

-cw