Health professionals continue to wage war against flavored tobacco products, while also pushing for legal age of purchase increase.
The Cigar Association of America recently outlined several ordinances that are being considered by both the Cleveland Ohio City Council and the City of Boston Public Health Commission that would ban the sale of most flavored tobacco products and increase the age to purchase tobacco to 21 years of age. Cigar Association of America is working with the coalition of retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers to defeat or at least limit the impact of these damaging and unnecessary regulations.
According to the Cigar Association, the Cleveland City Health and Human Services Committee is currently considering an ordinance that would ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products containing any characterizing flavor. “Characterizing flavor” is defined as “a distinguishable taste or aroma, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen, imparted either prior to or during consumption of a tobacco product or component part thereof, including, but not limited to, tastes or aromas relating to any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb or spice; provided, however, that no tobacco product shall be determined to have a characterizing flavor solely because of the use of additives or flavorings or the provision of ingredient information.”
Also proposed at a preliminary hearing of the ordinance was a suggestion to remove the exemption for menthol, mint and wintergreen and to include all flavorings of vapor products as well, reported the Cigar Association.
The anti-tobacco groups have a second opportunity for public comment on the ordinance before committee today, where further amendments will be considered. The industry will have an opportunity for public hearing before the committee on Dec. 2.
Health and Human Services chairman Joe Cimperman scheduled the Nov. 16 hearing late Thursday afternoon on Nov. 12, giving less than one business day’s notice. The Cigar Association reported that Cimperman’s intention was to pass the ordinance from his committee and through the entire council on the same day.
The Cigar Association of America stated that they were successful in obtaining a hearing, but this is a significant uphill fight.
In Massachusetts, the unelected board of the Boston Public Health Commission has proposed a ban that is virtually identical to the one in Cleveland. There will be a public hearing on Dec. 3 on a proposal to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products and to increase the age to purchase to 21 as well. The Boston proposal would exempt tobacco and vapor shops from the ban. According to the Cigar Association, mayor Marty Walsh is a supporter of increasing the age to 21, but he has been less vocal about the flavor ban.
The Cigar Association of America will continue to work with the coalition to defeat or amend these proposals.