On Monday, the Columbus City Council voted unanimously in favor of banning the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products within city limits. Less than 48 hours later and a half a mile away, the Ohio Senate approved a bill that would make what the Columbus City Council did illegal.
Update (Dec. 15, 2022) — Early Thursday morning—around 1 a.m.—the Ohio House of Representatives passed the bill.
Earlier this afternoon, the Ohio Senate passed H.B. 513 by a vote of 23-8. It includes an amendment that will prohibit local governments in Ohio from enacting any laws regarding tobacco or vaping products that are stricter than state law, a mechanism known as preemption. Because of this amendment, the bill now heads back to the Ohio House of Representatives, where it must be approved before heading to the desk of Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican. While the bill was passed by Republicans during the lame-duck session, it’s unclear whether DeWine will ultimately sign it into law. Previously, he has supported efforts to ban flavored vaping products.
If approved, the state law will effectively void the law passed by the Columbus City Council on Monday. The Columbus city law is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
Preemption clauses have been a successful tool in blocking bans on the sales of flavored tobacco products. To the east of Ohio, the City of Philadelphia lost a federal lawsuit that overturned its flavored tobacco ban due to Pennsylvania’s preemption clause.