Retailers: Missoula ban on flavored tobacco would cost jobs, cut deep into revenue – KPAX-TV

Retailers: Missoula ban on flavored tobacco would cost jobs, cut deep into revenue – KPAX-TV

MISSOULA — Convenience stores and other retail shops that sell flavored tobacco are mustering opposition to a proposed ordinance before the Missoula City Council that would make the display and sale of such products illegal within city limits.

Several members of the council have voiced support for the measure over the past few weeks, calling it a “last ditch effort” to keep tobacco products out of the hands of kids.

Proponents of the ordinance, introduced last month by Ward 2 council member Mirtha Becerra, believe the flavored products serve as a gateway to addiction among youth.

“I feel very strongly that this is what we need to put in place to help prevent children and young Missoulians not get addicted to tobacco products,” Becerra said. “There’s some real sense of urgency in passing this ordinance.”

Members of the healthcare community have helped lead the charge in urging the city to ban the products. They’ve spoken at length at recent meetings before the city’s Public Safety and Health Committee. They’ve also written letters to local news outlets to win public support for the City Council’s upcoming vote later this month.

But local businesses said the city hasn’t approached them for their views on the measure and so far, their concerns haven’t been heard. Passing such an ordinance would hurt local businesses by cutting deep into their revenue, they contend.

Earl Allen, the marketing supervisor for Hi-Noon Petroleum, which
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