Puff, puff, puff away on your vape juices and menthol cigarettes now, because beginning Jan. 1, specialty tobacco stores in unincorporated Marin won’t sell flavored tobacco products anymore. Even better, a ban for all sellers in the area goes into effect on July 1. The county follows the lead of Sausalito, Fairfax and Novato, as they previously legislated against the merchandise. Damning data shows that vaping more than doubled in the past two years among Marin’s seventh, ninth and 11th graders. “After decades of progress on the reduction of tobacco use, we’re losing ground,” says Matt Willis, Marin County’s public health officer. Most cigarette users become addicted at a young age, and they started by using the flavored stuff, which introduces them to addictive nicotine. What’s the allure for kids? Remember, big tobacco is a genius marketer. Yummy flavors, including cotton candy, buttered popcorn and bubble gum, mask the harshness of regular tobacco. Kudos to the Marin County Board of Supervisors for the new prohibitions.
Who does Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle think he’s fooling? Not us. He announced last week that he will no longer alert U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to inmate release dates, unless the person has been charged with or convicted of a serious crime. We previously blasted Doyle on his policy of sharing inmate info with ICE, and at first glance, it appears he’s changed his icy position on the matter. Nope. It’s all smoke and mirrors. You’ll still find release dates for jail inmates on the sheriff’s office public booking log webpage. Gee, is that info invisible to ICE? No. In addition, if ICE calls for information, Doyle’s office will provide it. What changed? In essence, nothing. Sure, the sheriff is no longer contacting ICE directly with an inmate’s release date; however, he makes it readily available online. Good try, Doyle, but we’re not buying that you’ve seen the light. We wish you’d remember that you work for Marin, not ICE.