El Cajon City Council votes to stiffen penalties for selling vape products to minors

EL CAJON, Calif. -- The El Cajon City Council voted Tuesday to impose stricter penalties on stores that sell vaping products to minors.

Under the new rules, if a store sells to a minor, they will face .a $2,500 for the first offense, $2,500 plus a 30-day suspension for the second offense and $2,500 plus a 60-day suspension for the third offense. If there is a fourth offense, the business' license will be pulled.

The council voted not to move forward with a citywide ban on vaping devices and flavored vaping juices.

The meeting comes after a recent spate of deaths and illnesses associated with vaping in San Diego and across the country.

According to Councilman Gary Kendrick, who proposed the ban, city officials caught 43 stores selling tobacco and vaping products to minors in the last two years. Kendrick's proposed ordinance would either ban all vaping products or those geared toward children, such as flavored vaping liquids.

FOX 5 stopped by several smoke shops and found none were thrilled to hear about the proposed ban.

Samir Keryakos, the owner of Tobacco Outlet, said 25% to 30% of store sales comes from vaping products. He fears the worst if the ban goes through. "Imagine your paycheck cut in half or a third," Keryakos said. "If we go out of businesses they don't care."

El Cajon has a history of leading the charge on smoking restrictions in San Diego, having been the county's first city to pass a tobacco licensing ordinance and to place a ban on smoking in restaurants.

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