Tougher Tobacco Rules in Sonoma


Authorities in Sonoma, California, want to impose stricter regulations to tobacco retailers in order to make it more difficult for children to buy slim cigarettes in shops.

Last week the City Council passed a measure that does not allow new businesses to sell cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products in the town. It took several months to take into consideration all opinions. The new regulation demands that the 15 existing tobacco retailers have a lisence for which they should pay $246 annually. The obtained money will be directed to a youth-decoy sting program, conducted by Police Chief Bret Sackett and sheriff’s deputies.

The law was voted unanimously by the Council in the first reading. Then should follow the second its reading before it comes into action September 1, 2015. It is most likely the the second reading would take place the next month. There is a slim possibility that Council members would change their decision despite strong ctitics against the law.

Councilwoman Laurie Gallian told that she supports people living in the community and she wants the law to be adopted. On the public hearing last week there were twenty residents who came to share their opinions about the proposal. Among them there were retailers who sell e-cigarettes and they disagree with the idea to include those devices into the law which restricts their use.

However, Council members told that e-cigarettes should be restricted because they are becoming extremely popular among young people in the community. Adults many smoke what they want but the proposed law would help to preotect kids and teens from these dvices.

Sonoma city received “F” rate from American Lung Association for reduction of secondhand smoke exposure.

Pam Granger, senior advocacy manager for the American Lung Association in California, welcomes the anti-tobacco initiative in Sonoma and says it is an effective way to kepp kids away from tobacco products. Data shows that each year 34,400 young people in California become smokers and most of them are using e-cigarettes.

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