The Coast News Group
Community Commentary Opinion

Commentary: Encinitas tobacco ordinance is a local business breaker

By Jivtesh Gill

On behalf of the American Petroleum and Convenience Store Association representing owners of 1,400 convenience stores providing jobs, essential services, and products to Californians, we urge the Encinitas City Council to end efforts to ban legal adult products sold at local businesses.

We understand the city council’s intent with a proposed amendment that aims to ban the sales of certain tobacco products within the city limits.

Like city leaders, we too are responsible community members who believe tobacco is not for young people.

The business owners we represent and their employees feel great pride in knowing that they are partners in the fight to keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors.

The FDA inspects retailers for compliance with the law, and they have not issued one violation in the past five years in Encinitas to a retailer for selling a tobacco product to a minor.

We are the best line of defense when it comes to restricting the sale of cigarettes and vaping products to minors.

And teen smoking is down. A 2019 UC San Diego research study shows since 2000, the youth cigarette smoking rate in California has decreased considerably.

In 2002, 16% of teens surveyed said they’d smoked in the past 30 days. In 2018, however, California reported its lowest high school cigarette use rate at 2%.

For retailers, that are mostly small family-owned stores, the sale of tobacco products to adults is a significant part of our revenue.

We’re doing our part to keep tobacco out of young people’s hands, yet the city council appears ready to destroy small businesses in Encinitas.

This is definitively a case of local government overreach and will result in shifting sales of these products to Illegal sources who don’t check IDs. It will result in the closures of neighborhood markets that provide access to food, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items.

For the reasons cited here, city leaders should end their efforts to ban the sales of adult products. #SaveOurStores.

Jivtesh Gill is the Chairman of the American Petroleum and Convenience Store Association.

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