HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s second most populous county has passed the state’s first ban on flavored tobacco products.
The Board of County Commissioners in Washington County voted 3 to 2 Tuesday to prohibit retail sales of any flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and vape pens.
Ordinance 878 was created based on findings that indicate tobacco use by young people continues to be a significant health risk.
“The Board heard compelling evidence that restricting access of flavored products results in fewer young people using addictive tobacco and nicotine substances as well as higher quit rates,” Board Chair Kathryn Harrington said in a statement.
The board’s action prohibits the sale of any tobacco or synthetic nicotine product to anyone under 21; prohibit sales of any flavored tobacco or synthetic nicotine product in any retail establishment; and prohibit coupons, discounts and price promotions for any tobacco products.
At Tuesday’s board meeting in Washington County, most public comment was against the ban. Commissioner Jerry Willey, who voted against the ban, worried about the financial impact to locally owned stores
The county is “making the retail suppliers and outlets pay the price because they’re the ones who are going to feel the pinch,” he said.
Under Ordinance 878, violations are subject to a Class A civil infraction issued by a county code enforcement officer. This could mean a fine of up to $2,000 for individuals or $4,000 for corporations. The ordinance will apply countywide, including inside city boundaries.
The ban goes into effect in 30 days but will not be enforced until Jan. 1.