The sale of any flavored tobacco products by retailers will soon be prohibited in the city of Hermosa Beach after the City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance in an effort to reduce access of the products to youth.

“It's an epidemic and flavored tobacco products are designed to hook kids on nicotine,” said Councilmember Justin Massey.

“I will sleep better at night knowing that our children have no access to flavored tobacco at any retail establishment, whether it's 21 and older or not,” added Mayor Stacey Armato.

Last December, the City Council passed an ordinance where flavored tobacco products or a electronic smoking device or related products cannot be sold in the city, unless the retailer permitted only patrons 21 years or older, or active duty military personnel 18 years or older to enter the business.

But then the City Council wanted to take it a step further and the ordinance came back prohibiting all sales of flavored tobacco products. The city said it came down to health issues and they have been working with various organizations such as Beach Cities Health District to combat the “epidemic."

“Just like with any community program, it requires a mufti-faceted solution in terms of what the city can do, addressing… that strong tobacco retail licenses not only lower the legal sale rate to minors, but also have been shown to lower the rates of e-cigarette and cigarette use among youth,” said Jacqueline Sun, senior policy analyst at BCHD.

Councilmember Jeff Duclos said the new ordinance “makes our resolve even stronger to deal with a problem.”

“We know have a population of young people in our community who are addicted to nicotine and many studies have shown for some people, addiction to nicotine can be stronger than addiction to heroin,” Duclos said. “It is not something to be looked at lightly.”

The ordinance will take effect later this year.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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