In July 2020, the Hayward City Council amended its Tobacco Retail License (TRL) policy to remove both the exemption of menthol flavored tobacco products and “grandfathering” of existing licensees, thus eliminating the sale of flavored tobacco products citywide. Additionally, the Council enacted several provisions to strengthen the TRL. The effort was led by Eden Youth and Family Center (EYFC), the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition for Health Against Tobacco (API-CHAT) and the Alameda County Tobacco Control Program (TCP) – a broad community of organizations that marshalled a powerful and diverse base of support, leveraging youth and community voices and social equity issues.
In May 2020, the Oakland City Council closed a loophole exempting “adult-only” tobacco stores from the city’s flavored tobacco sales restrictions and further strengthened community tobacco control and enforcement measures. The policy also prohibited pharmacies from selling any tobacco products, set a minimum price of $8 for a pack of cigarettes and little cigars/cigarillos and a minimize pack size of 20 little cigars/cigarillos. The effort, led by the Alameda County Tobacco Control Coalition (the Coalition), the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), Roots Community Health Center and the Alameda County Tobacco Control Program (TCP) – leveraged strong community partnerships to reflect broad and strong support for strengthening the Tobacco Retail License (TRL) policy as an urgent public health and social equity response in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colton Community Coalition for Change (Coalition), a community outreach program of Mental Health Systems Central Valley Prevention Program (MHS), and its community partners spent nearly two-and-a-half years cultivating support for a comprehensive Tobacco Retail License (TRL) policy for the City of Colton. The lengthy campaign overcame several roadblocks before a TRL policy was adopted in December 2019, including delays and leadership changes both among the coalition members and political leadership in Colton, illustrating the powerful roles of community partnerships and youth voices.