Business Owners Voice Opposition to Flavored Tobacco Ban

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By Elizabeth Miller

Cleveland City Council’s proposed ban on selling flavored tobacco would affect nearly five hundred convenience and retail stores in the city.  Business owners and tobacco groups asked council for an opportunity to voice their concerns about the resolution and Wednesday, they were given the chance to speak out.

More than a dozen people voiced opposition to a City Council Ordinance which would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products except in retail tobacco stores.  Some speakers including Jeff Erb, president of the Ohio Association of Convenience Stores, said the proposed ban could put some businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

“Cleveland retailers will not only lose tobacco sales, but also lose the opportunity for additional sundry purchases that research shows consumers make, including gas, beverages, and food items,” said Erb.

Tobacco representatives at the meeting say Cleveland stores that sell flavored tobacco could lose about $26 million in revenue annually.  Supporters of the legislation point to a report from the Centers for Disease Control that shows a third of young people who smoke use flavored tobacco.  Council is expected to vote on the measure on Monday.  

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