The U.S. City of Chicago has its sights set on flavors for vaping products. On Friday, the Chicago City Council Health Committee passed a heavily revised version its tobacco flavor ban. What started out as an attempt to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco product has been stripped down to a ban on only flavored vaping products.
This means that Chicago would allow menthol and mint combustible cigarettes, as well as flavored cigars and pipe tobaccos. The full council is scheduled to discuss the ordinance during its meeting on Wednesday, the first day that all vaping products that haven’t submitted a premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be removed from shelves.
The ban had a good amount of support in its original form, garnering the support of 21 of the city’s 50 aldermen upon its introduction in June, as well as the support of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, according to a story by Patrick Lagreid on Halfwheel.com. However, it was also met with opposition from members who feared that the ban would drive sales of tobacco products to other municipalities and have an adverse effect on businesses.
The original bill generated a large outcry from retailers who said smokers simply would cross into the suburbs to buy flavored cigarettes and from some aldermen who have long complained that higher prices and stricter restrictions on tobacco sales in Chicago propel a gang-controlled black market in those products.
The city also is dealing with a budget crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it remains to be seen if the full council will support the ban if it means the loss of revenue into city coffers. Some aldermen have called for stricter enforcement of existing sales regulations as opposed to an outright ban.