Missoula Bans Flavored Vapes, Flavored Cigarettes OK

The vote was 5 to 4. The city council for the Montana city of Missoula voted Monday to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and vapes within five miles of city limits. The ban does not include flavors for other tobacco products, such as cigarettes or cigars.

vapers in bar
Credit: Timothy S. Donahue

Not only does this new ordinance ban the sale of flavored products it also restricts the display of all tobacco. Retailers in Missoula will have to move any tobacco product behind their counter, according to an article on khq.com.

The ordinance will go into effect on Jan 25, 2021, allowing stores to sell off the remainder of their flavored products and to move all tobacco products behind their counter. These new changes will be enforced through both the Missoula City County Health Department and the police.

The intent of this ban is to make it more difficult for minors to get a hold of tobacco products, according to council members. Multiple city council members also said the ban will counteract the predatory marketing of big tobacco companies, at least on the local level.

The ordinance is made up of three main components. First, it requires retailers to keep all tobacco products behind the counter. Next, it prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco when used with an e-cigarette. Finally, it makes it unlawful to sell or give tobacco to any minor.

The councilmembers who voted against the ban all gave different reasons for their opposition to the ordinance. Those included not wanting local business to lose revenue and jobs, not wanting to get involved with lawsuits with tobacco retailers and freedom of choice.

“I am very pro-choice about what happens to my body and what goes into it and I don’t feel that I am in a position to dictate how one should cope in this world. So I will not be supporting this ordinance,” Councilmember Heather Harp said.

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