After a proposal to ban flavored tobacco sales had sat seemingly dormant for more than a year, the Philadelphia City Council decided to take it up this week, passing it unanimously as part of what has been described as an attempt to reduce lobbyists’ knowledge they were taking up the matter.
Councilmember Curtis Jones told KYW News Radio that he strategically brought up the bill so that lobbyists for the tobacco industry wouldn’t have an opportunity to try and sway the votes of his fellow council members.
The council also voted to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes at any store that allows minors to enter. Both changes will go into effect upon getting the signature of Mayor Jim Kenney.
Philadelphia is home to approximately 1.6 million people, making it the sixth most populated city in the United States.
Update (Dec. 7) — While the city has not yet posted the ordinance as it was passed, the most recent version that was considered in 2018 does provide an exemption to the ban for Tobacco Products Distribution Businesses, which are defined as “an establishment that prohibits minors from entering; provides neither food nor beverage to customers; and derives ninety percent (90%) or more of gross sales on an annual basis from Tobacco Products and accessories used in the consumption of Tobacco Products, including from sales via the internet which are delivered only upon verification of identity and age.”
This would appear to create an exemption for premium cigar stores, though we are working on getting the final language of the ordinance from the city.