Los Angeles County bans flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes

Los Angeles County decided Tuesday to outlaw flavored tobacco products.

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The county's Board of Supervisors voted, without dissent, to approve a prohibition on e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and menthol cigarettes -- with flavoring -- as a result of growing alarm that the products are becoming increasingly popular among young people. The Board also advocated a statewide ban.

The vote came on a second reading after initial approval last week. The ordinance takes effect in 30 days. Retailers will then have 180 days to clear their shelves of flavored tobacco and apply for updated licenses required under the new rules. Flavored tobacco products are "driving the current vaping epidemic among youth," county Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the board last week.

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2014, file photo, a patron exhales vapor from an e-cigarette at a store in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

"As the number of vaping-related deaths and hospitalizations climb, and as more states have taken steps to protect youth from the harmful effects of vaping products, we need to support our state leaders and ask them to step in to protect the public," said Supervisor Hilda Solis in a written statement following the vote. Solis introduced the motion.

As of Wednesday, Michigan has already banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, although that decision is currently being appealed by a store owner, who objects to the loss of revenue.

President Trump's Food and Drug Administration is also working on a ban on flavored vaping liquid.

The increasing government scrutiny comes as at least 15 people have died after using vaping products.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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