Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death and disease in California, causing nearly 40,000 deaths in California every year. In Santa Clara County, one in eight deaths annually is attributed to smoking-related illness or diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases. More than one in ten youth in the County currently use tobacco products, including electronic smoking devices.

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department has provided funding to cities, including Cupertino, to support tobacco prevention strategies known to have the highest impact on reducing tobacco-related disparities and inequities. On November 19, 2019, the City adopted an ordinance to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products in Cupertino, along with other requirements described under the "Existing Policies" section below.

Additional Policies

In addition to the newly adopted regulations, the City is considering additional tobacco policies in order to reduce the vaping epidemic affecting youth. Santa Clara County recently prohibited the sale of all electronic cigarette/vaping products and the City is looking into adopting a similar policy, which may include:

  • Prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarette/vaping products
  • Extending the period in which a retailer's violations would accumulate from 24 months to 60 months.
  • Requiring a minimum age for individuals selling tobacco products that is the same as the minimum age to purchase tobacco products as established by state law.

These proposed policies are scheduled for the February 4, 2020 City Council meeting at Community Hall, 10350 Torre Ave. 

Existing Policies

At their November 19, 2019 meeting, the City Council approved an ordinance that prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products, along with other requirements listed below. This ordinance also requires retailers in the City of Cupertino to obtain a local permit to sell tobacco products.

Starting July 1, 2020:

All tobacco retailers are:

  • Required to obtain and annually renew a tobacco retailer permit
  • Prohibited from selling flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes
  • Required to check ID for those appearing under age 30
  • Prohibited from covering more than 15% of windows and clear doors with any type of ads or signs
  • Prohibited from selling tobacco in vending machines
  • Prohibited from selling tobacco at mobile and/or temporary events

New tobacco retailers are:

  • Prohibited from opening within 1,000 ft. from any K-12 school in Cupertino
  • Prohibited from opening within 500 ft. from an existing tobacco retailers

Pharmacies are:

  • Prohibited from selling all tobacco products

This approved ordinance is an important and successful step towards reducing youth access to tobacco in Cupertino. The regulations around schools will benefit students and keep them from developing habits and behaviors that are harmful to their health. The ordinance will be reflected in Municipal Code Chapter 5.50.