A ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products within 500 feet of a school goes into effect in Chicago today, though the impact will be felt more by convenience stores that premium tobacco shops.

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel made the passage of the ordinance a high priority last year, introducing it on November 26, 2013. The city council passed it by a vote of 48-2 on December 11, 2013, with no opportunity for public comment.

Effective today, stores within 500 feet of elementary, middle or secondary schools will not be able to sell flavored tobacco products, nor will existing stores be able to be grandfathered in. The ordinance also bans individuals from engaging in the business of a Retail Tobacco dealer using a customer self-service display. With the exception of a Retail Tobacco store, the ordinance requires all tobacco and products to be stored and sold from behind the counter.

The change does not apply to stores who derive more than 80% of gross revenue from the sale of tobacco products, which helps to distinguish tobacco stores from convenience and other such stores which happen to sell tobacco products. 

The ordinance creates the following definitions:

“As used in this definition, the term ‘characterizing flavor’ means a distinguishable taste or aroma, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, imparted either prior to or during consumption of a tobacco product, including, but not limited to, tastes or aromas of menthol, mint, wintergreen, chocolate, vanilla, honey, cocoa, any candy, any dessert, any alcoholic beverage, any fruit, any herb, and any spice.”

“No person shall sell, give away, barter, exchange, or otherwise deal in flavored tobacco products, samples of such products, or accessories for such products at any location that has a property line within 500 feet of the property line of any public, private, or parochial elementary, middle or secondary school located in the City of Chicago.”

Chicago is the country’s third most populous city with approximately 2.715 million residents.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.