Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 14 May 2010

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New York City's Flavored Tobacco Ban Causing Tension


A New York City ban on the sale of flavored tobacco has ruffled the feathers of many members of the New York Tobacconist's Association. The ban was accepted back in October of 2009 by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and became official back in April of 2010.

Under the ban, sales of flavored tobacco are prohibited in New York City's five boroughs. Smokeless tobacco and flavored cigars cannot be sold within the area, unless at tobacco bars. Also exempt are wintergreen products, menthol products, and tobacco intended for use with hookahs.

What constitutes flavored tobacco is anything that differs greatly from normal tobacco and can be detected by smelling it or tasting it prior to use. Examples of such flavors are honey, chocolate, candy, vanilla, spices, herbs, fruit, and more. Also, if the manufacturer puts a label on the product that would claim any such flavor, that would be encompassed by the ban.

The ban's proponents presented it as a measure to help protect children from the influences of tobacco. They claim that by adding tasty flavors to the tobacco products, that manufacturers are subliminally targeting children as future customers. Adding such flavors as chocolate or vanilla are simply underground tactics used to entice children into becoming smokers and trying the products, despite being too young to do so. For these supposed influential reasons, Mayor Bloomberg decided to pass the law.

The New York Tobacconist's Association believes that such a theory is simply not true. They believe that legitimate and professional tobacco shops do not engage underage customers, and that they should not be punished unjustly. They expressed their sentiments in person to the New York Board of Health during the first week of this month, but the ban still stands.

One could argue that where there's a will there's a way, and the underage folks could just find some other way to get their hands on the products. Meanwhile, adults in the area who enjoy such products are now at a disadvantage, and so are the local tobacco shops. NYC's tax revenues from the sales on such products will also be lower.

Although everyone believes that children should be protected from the various potential dangers around them, enacting such a ban in New York City does not guarantee their protection. What it does guarantee is that many local tobacco businesses will be hurt, and their customers will be disappointed too.







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