Phoenix is taking a first step toward a potential ban on flavored tobacco products. And several retailers want to make sure their voices are heard.
During Wednesday’s public safety subcommittee, more than 90 people requested to speak. Word had spread throughout among retailers, educators and health care advocates that the four City Council members on the committee would discuss vaping laws.
Vaping, also known as e-cigarettes, provides an electronic delivery system for tobacco. Some people want Phoenix to ban all flavored tobacco products often used to vape in hopes of preventing a generation of young people from getting hooked.
Alexa Wohrman, community advocacy advisor with the American Heart Association Greater Phoenix Division, told subcommittee members the industry considered them “starter products,”
“Fruit, mint, menthol and candy flavors make tobacco products more attractive to kids because they mask the harsh taste of tobacco and make these products seem harmless,” she said.
But smoke shop owner Bob Roberts says a total ban on people over 21 would cut his business nearly 40%.
“Because a variety of products are considered flavored tobacco,” he said. “In addition, we’ll lose sales of other products purchased by these customers.”
Several cigar rollers, hookah lounge operators and retailers suggested their products be exempt from any future ban. A cigar shop owner said his products are not geared toward young people, while several others spoke of the cultural significance of hookahs.
A handful of business owners suggested the city look at regulating the electronic devices used to vape rather than the liquids which