CHICAGO — David Tooley knows the negative effect a tobacco flavor sales ban can have on a convenience-store’s back bar.
That did not make the blow any easier when California enacted a statewide ban on Aug. 28.
“It’s devastating,” Tooley told CSP. “I think we all felt something was coming. I think we held out hope that maybe it wasn’t going to be quite as restrictive, but it’s going to have a huge ripple at the beginning of the year when it goes into effect.”
Tooley, vice president of Tooley Oil Co. and owner of 13 Circle K-branded stores in Northern California, and one in Reno, Nev., said his California stores that were already in counties with similar bans. There, he saw a 12% decrease in in-store sales at first. That decline decreased to about 7% to 10% after several months, he said.
He is far from the only c-store retailer facing this challenge. Massachusetts’ flavored tobacco sales ban went into effect on June 1. And Chicago recently passed an ordinance banning the sales of flavored vapor products from the city, where and c-store retailers are afraid of what the effects of this, on top of the weight of COVID-19, could mean for the industry.