Flavored Tobacco Ban Passes Cleveland Council Health Committee

Used cigarettes collect on a city street.
Used cigarettes collect on a city street.
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by Nick Castele

A proposal to restrict the sale of flavored cigarettes advanced out of Cleveland City Council's health committee Monday. The measure must pass through the finance committee before reaching a floor vote from the full council.

The ordinance targets tobacco products that are often made to taste like vanilla, mango or other forms of fruit or sweets. Only tobacco stores would be allowed to sell the items under this legislation.

The measure was introduced last year, and faced opposition from grocers and other merchants. They said it would cost them business, including sales of sundry items to people who buy the tobacco products.

Councilman Jeffrey Johnson said he understands businesses’ concerns, but wants to make it harder for young people to buy flavored tobacco.

“The outlets that predominate in my ward, all of them sell this,” Johnson said. “And so for me to remove them off…almost each corner of my ward, it will lessen the opportunity for youth to easily have access.”

At a hearing on the proposal Monday morning, other council members posed questions about how this measure would be enforced.

This is part of a broader legislative push to limit smoking among young people. Last December, Cleveland raised the smoking age from 18 to 21.

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