Missoula City Council in Montana proposed a ban on flavored vapor products at a public hearing on Monday. The proposed legislative action garnered more support for the ban than opposition.
Supporters included teachers, pediatricians, dentists and parents, according to an article on nbcmontana.com. “Montana communities need to take action, because our state and federal government have not stepped up to protect kids from being targeted by these addictive and dangerous products,” said Beth Morrison, a volunteer with Parents Against Vaping in Montana.
Supporters of the ban argue the candy-like appearance of vape product packaging attracts kids and hooks them on nicotine long-term. Many local businesses expressed opposition to the ban, saying it would deeply affect business and employment.
“We know that if we just remove the tobacco products at the three Noon’s stores in town, we are going to have to furlough three to five employees, because our labor budgets are based on a budget of total sales,” said John Monahan, sales manager at Noon’s, the story states.
Shops that specialize in vape and e-cigarettes said they would have to shut down completely.
“76 percent of our juice sales at Liberty Vapor are flavored juices sold to adults. If the ordinance was enacted, it would put us out of business,” said Tommie Dobbs, co-owner of Liberty Vapor. “We don’t have the extra things that we sell in our store. We don’t have the potato chips, the soda, the gas, we don’t have any revenue from those types of things that gas stations do.”
There are more than five vaporizer stores within Missoula city limits that specialize in selling vaping products and e-cigarettes.
Store owners argue that underage kids who get ahold of tobacco products usually get it from someone who purchased it legally or they get it online. They say whether a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products passes, kids are still going to get ahold of it with those methods.
The City Council will talk about the vaping ban again during Wednesday’s committee meeting.
Public comment can be left on the Council’s voicemail at 406-552-6012 or an email can be sent to the Council at [email protected]