Miami-Dade Commissioners Give Initial OK to Flavored Tobacco Ban

Next up is a public hearing July 10

Tuesday, May 15, 2012  |  Updated 9:23 PM EDT
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Miami-Dade County Commissioners preliminarily approved by a 12-1 vote Tuesday a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products in the county.

The ordinance would hand down a $500 fine for selling flavored cigars and chewing tobacco, products that are popular with teens, The Miami Herald reported. Mint, menthol and wintergreen flavors would be exempt, however.

The measure is sponsored by Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Sally Heyman and says that flavored tobacco is a “starter” product for teens, according to the Herald. Commissioner Bruno Barreiro was the only dissenting vote Tuesday.

The federal government banned the sale of candy-flavored cigarettes in 2009, but retailers began selling more flavored chewable tobacco products and flavored cigars, the Herald reported. The proposed new ordinance covers what federal law does not, Assistant Miami-Dade Attorney Jess McCarty told the newspaper.

The city of South Miami already banned the sale of chewing tobacco.

And it is illegal for minors to buy tobacco.

Next is a public hearing on July 10 at the Board of County Commissioners’ Public Safety and Healthcare Administration Committee Meeting.

Swisher International, the Jacksonville company that makes the popular Swisher Sweets flavored cigars, plans to lobby county commissioners against the ban before the final vote.

“There are laws on the books now,” Swisher spokesman Joe Augustus told the Herald. “It seems to me they need to work on enforcing the law more than banning the product.”

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