What had started as an attempt to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Chicago has been stripped down to a ban on flavored vaping products after the Chicago City Council Health Committee passed a heavily revised version of the ordinance on Friday.
That means that flavored cigars and pipe tobacco will remain legal to sell, as will one of the most controversial products: cigarettes that use menthol or mint.
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. 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.
Now, the focus turns to discouraging youth from using e-cigarettes by looking to ban flavored vaping products. However, with the city 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.
The full council is scheduled to discuss the ordinance during its meeting on Wednesday.
Update (Sept. 9, 2020) — The full council approved the amended ordinance by a 46-4 vote.