South Portland City Council: Tobacco limits need more work

SOUTH PORTLAND — City councilors on Tuesday unanimously sent a proposed ban on the sale of some flavored tobacco products back to workshop.

Councilors on June 4 also unanimously approved a prohibition against feeding birds in public parks, and approved a zoning map change for the proposed new Cash Corner Fire Station.

The decision to delay a restriction on flavored tobacco products, made at the recommendation of the city attorney, came after pushback from some business owners and residents.

Business owners said a more reasonable approach was taken May 28, when a local ordinance was approved to align with a state law that bans the sale and possession of all tobacco products by those under 21.

“As I sat here the last few meetings it was obvious you didn’t know the products and components,” Rose West, resident and former owner of Broadway Variety, said. “I have been in this business for over 30 years and I didn’t understand what you’re talking about or what your ordinance means.”

The closed-pod systems councilors proposed banning are small vaping devices that heat flavored nicotine solution into a vapor, which is inhaled. Common brands include Juul, MyBlue and PHIX.

The ordinance proposal would have banned sales of additives “other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, menthol mint or wintergreen” to buyers of any age. There have been three City Council workshops on the subject since Feb. 5.

Chris Jackson, owner of Portland Smoke & Vape Shop at 585 Broadway, said he is frustrated by the council’s lack of knowledge.

“I wish it wouldn’t get nasty, but you’re opening up another can of worms when you target particular products,” he said. You’re treading on water that hasn’t been dealt with before. Don’t try to bite off more than you chew.”


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