The Palo Alto City Council reaffirmed on Tuesday its decision to ban flavored tobacco throughout the city, despite an attempt by three members to exempt Mac’s Smoke Shop and other adult-only stores from the prohibition.
In a vote that mirrored its action on May 18, the council voted 4-3, with Mayor Adrian Fine, Vice Mayor Tom DuBois and Councilwoman Liz Kniss dissenting, to move ahead with the citywide ban. The council was set to formally adopt the ban on its “consent calendar” on June 8, but agreed to delay it and scheduled another full discussion on the topic.
The Tuesday discussion changed little, with the council voting along the same lines as it did on May 18. Those in the majority — council members Alison Cormack, Eric Filseth, Lydia Kou and Greg Tanaka — all supported the broader ban, while Fine, DuBois and Kniss all said the city should exempt stores that only serve customers who are 21 years old and above.
Once again, the council heard from about two dozen speakers, including school advocates, parents, doctors and members of the American Cancer Society, all of whom supported the ban without exceptions. It also heard from a handful of adult-only retailers who argued that the city will effectively put them out of business.
Lori Khoury, co-owner of the iconic Mac’s Smoke Shop on Emerson Street, told the council that with the new ordinance, “You guys are going to put us to our death.” She also rejected the argument from some critics