Emeryville Makes Strides to Protect Public Health from Tobacco Use

Proposed measures aim to protect youth from illegal tobacco sales, curb tobacco use and strengthen smoke-free law

April 17, 2024

Emeryville, Calif. – Last night, the Emeryville City Council heard the first reading and voted in favor of several measures intended to protect public health from tobacco use. The Council passed a comprehensive tobacco retail licensing program that will help hold retailers accountable for following state and local tobacco laws with strong enforcement, including annual monitoring, fines, license suspension and revocation for non-compliant retailers. The program will also prohibit tobacco retail licenses from being transferred to new proprietors when the store is located within 1,000 feet of youth-sensitive areas – such as schools – or 500 feet of another tobacco retailer. Additionally, council members voted to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, set a minimum price and pack size for cigar products, and amend the Smoking Pollution Control Ordinance to prohibit smoking lounges. The measures now move to a second reading.

The following is a statement from Kristen Lockhart, senior tobacco control manager for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Rooted in Community Empowerment (RICE) project:

“We applaud the City Council for prioritizing public health and protecting Emeryville kids from the harms of tobacco use. These actions will help ensure that local and state tobacco control laws can be sustainably and equitably enforced.

“Menthol, other candy and fruit-flavored tobacco products are a key part of the tobacco industry’s strategy to bait youth and communities of color into a potential lifetime of addiction. Tobacco retailers are more common in limited-income communities and communities of color, which already face a disproportionate burden in tobacco-related diseases, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer.

“The retail licensing program will provide sustainable support for the vital monitoring and enforcement needed to stop greedy tobacco retailers from undermining the law and illegally selling highly addictive and harmful tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

“Prohibiting smoking lounges protects everyone’s right to breathe clean, smoke-free air while creating a supportive environment for those trying to quit.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the City Council to advance policies that will help everyone in Emeryville have a just and fair opportunity to prevent, detect, treat and survive cancer.”

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S. and smoking is linked to at least 12 types of cancers, including lung, liver and colorectal cancers.

Free resources and services on quitting tobacco products can be found at in English and Spanish. For help in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese, visit

Media Contacts

Priscilla Cabral
Regional Multicultural Media Advocacy Assoc. Dir.