Why does a deadly, addictive product that is supposed to be for adults look and smell like candy?

Chocolate, caramel, cinnamon apple… These are just a few of the thousands of sweet and fruity flavors available in tobacco products. The FDA banned the sale of flavored cigarettes (other than menthol) in 2009. But flavored e-cigarettes, e-liquids, cigars, hookah, and chewing tobacco continued to be sold. These products use kid-friendly flavors, colorful packaging, and low prices to entice young people. The sweet flavors mask the harshness of the nicotine and keep kids coming back until they become addicted.

Lifelong addiction often starts out sweet.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 80% of young people who have ever used a tobacco product started with a flavored product. 2018 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal a surge in use between 2017 and 2018 with one in five high school students and one in twenty middle school students currently using e-cigarettes.

Santa Cruz County Policy Makers Support Tobacco Laws that Protect Our Kids

Local policy makers understand that restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products is a critical step to preventing another generation of young people from living with a lifetime of addiction. In November of 2018, the City of Santa Cruz became the first jurisdiction in the County to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol. By June of 2022, the four other jurisdictions had passed similar bans, providing equal protection against these products throughout the County! Seeing the success of regional regulations, California legislators passed a state-wide ban on the sale of flavored tobacco in 2022. 

Help Us Spread the Word about the Dangers of Flavored Tobacco Products

Even though flavored tobacco products can no longer be legally sold in California, the tobacco industry continues to seek ways to get new products, including flavored nicotine pouches, into the hands of youth. Come to TEC meetings to strategize about next steps. Members have the opportunity to participate in activities such as: conducting public opinion polls about flavored tobacco products; conducting retail store surveys; attending educational meetings with local policy makers; writing letters, articles and op-eds for local publications.

Flavored Tobacco Resources

California Department of Public Health
CDC Tip Sheet for Parents on Talking with Your Teen About E-cigarettes


Scotts Valley Passes a TPW Resolution

On April 3, the Scotts Valley City Council passed a Resolution Recognizing Tobacco Product Waste as a Public Health and Environmental Threat, becoming the fifth and final jurisdiction in Santa Cruz County to do so. We are excited by this growing regional collaboration!

Capitola Passes a TPW Resolution

On October 12, 2023 the Capitola City Council passed a Resolution Recognizing Tobacco Product Waste as a Public Health and Environmental Threat.

Board of Supervisors Passes a TPW Resolution

At their May 16, 2023 meeting, the Supervisors passed a Resolution Recognizing Tobacco Product Waste as a Public Health and Environmental Threat. The supervisors resolved to bring forth policy approaches to address this waste by January of 2025.  

State-wide Flavored Tobacco Sales Ban Passes

On November 8, 2022, California Voters upheld Sentate Bill 793, prohibiting retailers from selling most flavored tobacco products. For more information, visit the California Department of Public Health website. 

Scotts Valley Bans Flavored Tobacco Sales

On June 15, 2022 the Scotts Valley City Council banned the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol. Now all five jurisdictions in Santa Cruz County have equal protections against the sale of these products. Scotts Valley also banned smoking in outdoor dining establishments. 

Santa Cruz and Watsonville Pass Tobacco Waste Resolutions!

In 2021, both the Santa Cruz and Watsonville city councils passed resolutions recognizing Tobacco Waste as a Public Health and Environmental Threat. The Councils resolved to "advance policy approaches to reduce or eliminate this toxic waste in our community."  


TEC Mission Statement

The Santa Cruz County Tobacco Education Coalition (TEC) is committed to promoting and advocating a tobacco-free lifestyle and environment at the local, state, and national levels. We empower our communities to effect individual and social change through education, advocacy, collaboration, and coordination of resources.  The Coalition recognizes individual rights and cultural traditions, while encouraging community responsibility and involvement.



Report Smoking Violations
(831) 454-4319

If you want to make a complaint about a smoking violation inside a building, call (831) 454-4319 or fill out this electronic form.

Breathe California also maintains a secondhand smoke helpline for Santa Cruz County residents. Call (408) 999-0500.

Tobacco Retail Licenses (TRL)
Looking for information about how to obtain a Tobacco Retailer’s License? Click here.


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