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Palo Alto ban on flavored tobacco leaves adult-only retailers fuming

Original post made on Jun 17, 2020

Palo Alto reaffirmed on Tuesday its decision to ban flavored tobacco throughout the city, despite an attempt by three City Council members to exempt Mac's Smoke Shop and other adult-only stores.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 9:43 AM

Comments (27)

34 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:59 am

This is a dreadful decision. Palo Alto youth who want these things get them online and they can still get them from other towns. It will just put Mac's and others out of business, the last thing we need at the present time.

Following this logic, all alcohol sales should be banned in Palo Alto in case those under 21 get hold of alcohol. See how silly that sounds!


2 people like this
Posted by Laruie
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:26 am

Once again profit over health!


20 people like this
Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:38 am

I'm happy that Macs has to abide by the same rules as the other 20+ businesses in Palo Alto with tobacco licenses.


9 people like this
Posted by A nice guy
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 11:57 am

More paternalism, my favorite!


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Jun 17, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


22 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:09 pm

This vote should have been unanimous. We need a city council that puts youth and children first. Never should a business, who's product only kills (tobacco), get priority over our the health and well-being of our children and youth. There was a clear record presented of these tobacco shops selling to our teens. Many of our teens are spending this Summer in rehab from vaping, rather than attending fun Summer activities. Thank you council members Kou, McCormack, Filseth and Tanaka for your votes to supporting the ordinance.


25 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:11 pm

Let's expand this rule to sugar and ban their sale at grocery stores and close fast-food restaurants. Hard to believe banning a legal product takes place in Palo Alto, and people applaud because they are only sensitive to their own personal freedom.


23 people like this
Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:12 pm

I agree with Nancy and with the dozens of fellow callers last night who advocated on behalf of the health of our community over the interests of a small number of stores who face declining sales due to health trends and better education about the harm caused by smoking both to our body as well as to the environment.

It's also worth noting that accepting the measure without the exception allowed Palo Alto to save money and resources. Santa Clara County offered take on the costs of enforcing this ordinance, but only if Palo Alto accepted in the same form as the other Santa Clara cities. Had Palo Alto insisted on being one of the only (if not only) cities not to pass Santa Clara's proposed measure, then our taxpayers would have had to shoulder the burden of enforcement.

It should bother us that three of our City Council members voted for our taxpayers to take on this avoidable cost when a free option was available, during the same set of meetings in which it voted to slash financial support of our public school district and essential nonprofits in Cubberly Center - along with other budget cuts to community services. It is frustrating that these council members would displace nonprofits and lessen support for public school students on one hand, while spending limited public funds in order to subsidize the unreasonable demands of a couple stores to sell products well-known to be deadly in the context of Covid-19.

This narrow win was one of the few victories that advocates for students, safety, the environment, and community services received this week, and it was far closer, and harder won, than it should have been.


8 people like this
Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:33 pm

This was never about stopping a ban on vaping products. I salute the council for finally blocking those products in our town. What I find strange is not permitting pipe tobacco products that are traditional -- think Sherlock Holmes. I do not support the fruity flavored tobaccos which appeal to teenagers. Too bad the council would not allow for the traditional pipe tobacco for adults only.


32 people like this
Posted by Hysterical comments
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:33 pm

The nanny state of Palo alto lives in. Virtue signaling by banning a legal item which is readily available elsewhere, while driving businesses out. Bravo.one has to laugh about Nancy's comment - teens spending the summer in rehab!! I would like to see her days for that claim.
I expect nancy, above, and Rebecca will be pushing for a ban on alcohol, sugar, Saturated fats etc. Why stop with tobacco.
And I can assure you that Rebecca will not get my vote.


30 people like this
Posted by "adults only"
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:45 pm

I heard from my daughter that her underage friend used a fake ID (different name, very different height) to successfully purchase vape cartridges [portion removed] with her mom's stolen credit card last week. This suggests to me that the shop is not carefully checking IDs to verify the buyer's age. [Portion removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2020 at 2:55 pm

** this new format is not as good as the original **

Whatever one might think of vaping, smoking or flavored
tobacco products ... there is enough real work for our
City Council to do instead of wasting time on stuff like
this that only adults should be deciding about anyway.


72 people like this
Posted by HN
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 17, 2020 at 4:53 pm

Unhealthy things we need to ban next:
-Bacon
-Red meat
-Chinese food
-Fast food
-Sugar
-Anything with added sugar
-Soy products
-Movie theater popcorn
-Skateboards (you can hurt yourself on those)
-Prescription painkillers
-And on and on


23 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 17, 2020 at 5:59 pm

@HN, good start to the list but apply the KISS principle and just ban anything that ANYONE considers inappropriate for a child, including books, movies, plays, birth control etc.

Adults should also be banned from possessing credit cards and debit cards because you never know when some kid might steal one and illegally buy an adult-only product or service.

It's high time we started treating all adults like sneaky kids stealing Mommy's credit card. I'm shocked that any of our elected officials could disagree. Toward that end, re-education and inspection programs will be initiated on a block-by-block basis similar to those under consideration to root out gas furnaces. appliances and cars.


Like this comment
Posted by I can't breathe
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 18, 2020 at 10:27 am

Maybe Palo Alto can be a clean place to breathe soon...now we just need to ban combustion engines


3 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 18, 2020 at 10:55 am

Palo Alto is rated G. That's its allure. I was able to quit alcohol here due to the lack of liquor stores. Its just not a vice city.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:48 am

Posted by I can't breathe, a resident of Greenmeadow

>> Maybe Palo Alto can be a clean place to breathe soon...now we just need to ban combustion engines

Air quality did improve noticeably during the real shutdown, when all the diesel construction trucks were off. That matters to some of us. Thank goodness there are real electric alternatives to diesels starting to be available in the marketplace.


13 people like this
Posted by BobH
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:49 am

I support banning flavored tobacco.

Kudos to the city council!


9 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:17 pm

Stop banning stuff, people. It's lazy, among other things.


13 people like this
Posted by Jose Takamoto
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 9:40 pm

Congratulations Liberals, You shut down another mom and pop business and made Jeff Bezos even richer! Great Job! [Portion removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by Lori Khoury
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2020 at 10:47 am

I am the owner of Mac's Smoke Shop and I agree with many of the comments that this is government overreach. This is a sad day for us and our shop. Palo Alto is no longer a friendly place for small businesses, especially those that have been around longer than anyone writing comments in this article. The same goes for flavored tobacco, it's been around since the 1920s. If you don't like tobacco, don't buy it, but why take away the rights of others? Certain council members have said how important it is to take care of the small businesses during this already difficult time, thank you for not helping, for those of you that tried, we appreciate your efforts. For those of you that think your kids are going to stop vaping , this wasn't the answer! And by the way - we don't sell to kids. Some kids are very deceitful and lie about how they get their vaping products - kudos to the parents for not wanting to recognize or own the behavior of their children, but are quick to point blame at others. You know who you are and you should be ashamed of yourself and your kid. This seems like a slippery slope Palo Alto is headed down.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:00 pm

@Lori Khoury

We all love small businesses, but, you need to find a healthier business. The reality is that tobacco products have a greater negative impact on health than any other legal product. In this study, "Adult male and female smokers lost an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life, respectively, because they smoked." Web Link

Depending on what you are measuring, you get different numbers. But, they are all large. "On the order of", as we say, a decade.

"Cigarette smoking continues to be the principal cause of premature death in the United States and imposes substantial costs on society."

Please find a different business to be in.


14 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:10 pm

@Anon, it's grandpa's right to smoke flavored tobacco if he wants. Maybe you also want to close down all bars, restaurants and supermarkets because kids might show up with false id's and try to buy booze illegally?

It's not like gramdpa and the sneaky kids who stole mommy's credit cards won't find a way to get want they want online and/or in nearby towns.

It's shameful the PA cc couldn't be as nuanced in their anti-vaping law as Los Altos to preserve landmark small businesses. And just a little reminder: vaping for kids was and is illegal. Note that ADULT vapers vape BECAUSE Palo Alto banned smoking in apartments and workplaces so all this does is deprive PA of sales tax revenue that will go elsewhere.


3 people like this
Posted by Jose Takamoto
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 19, 2020 at 4:10 pm

The Democrats like to remove their historical Confederate States of America era statues and monuments. Mac's Smoke shop has nothing to do with racism. Mac's Smokeshop is a symbol of Palo Alto's History. Why do they have to remove an iconic historical store?


5 people like this
Posted by Granny R
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2020 at 4:34 am

For all those who wax nostalgic for Mac's, it is not the nice little store you may remember. It features porn that degrades women and guns/ammo magazines that encourage violence right next to each other, a horrible combination. While I would like to see the historic facade of the building preserved there is no way any of the stuff they carry is good for a healthy society. This is not a Democratic party v. Republican issue as commenters are painting it. I am left wing but come full circle in agreement with conservative women who believe that porn is harmful for women.


9 people like this
Posted by Juliette
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 9, 2020 at 10:46 am

Juliette is a registered user.

"Some kids are very deceitful and lie about how they get their vaping products - kudos to the parents for not wanting to recognize or own the behavior of their children, but are quick to point blame at others. You know who you are and you should be ashamed of yourself and your kid." Period


12 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 9, 2020 at 1:55 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@Granny R, sorry but that's inaccurate. Mac's has had porn in the back hidden behind various barriers for at least 30 years in an adults-only section. I'm certain of the dates because I saw it when looking for at AutoTraders re selling my old car.

Since then, most porn has moved to the Web so you'd have to ban and/or close down the internet, too. Nothing new since research has long shown porn as the #1 online hit since the pre-web UseNet days of alt.sex.weird etc.

But why stop with closing Mac's? What about those "gentleman's" clubs and strip clubs and trade shows with scantily-clad "booth bunnies" and places from which politicians, coworkers, VCs etc. are sending unsolicited porn to women?

Where does it stop?

Re conservative women and porn, conservatives are the heaviest porn users, with Utah in the lead. They don't seem too upset about Trump and his porn star Stormy etc.

To stop the degradation of women, let them start lobbying to convict and penalize rapists and to start supporting and believing girls and women.


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