NATO Takes Action on Canton, Mass. and Vero Beach, Fla. Local Ordinances

Thomas A. Briant, NATO Executive Director

As previously reported in the Tobacco E-News, the Canton, Mass. Board of Health held a hearing on August 12, 2013 to consider adopting a citywide ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes, a prohibition on the sale of such smokeless tobacco products such as snus and nicotine lozenges and tablets, and an increase in the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. While the health board removed the proposed ban on the sale of e-cigarettes from the ordinance, the board did adopt the prohibition on the sale of snus and other non-medicinal nicotine products as well as the provision to raise the legal age to 21.

Since the Canton, Mass. Board of Health adopted the ban on snus and non-medicinal nicotine products despite NATO’s legal comments opposing this proposed sales ban, NATO has proceeded to send a formal letter to the Board of Selectmen of Canton, Massachusetts (the elected town council) requesting the Board of Selectmen’s assistance in directing the Board of Health to rescind the sales ban on snus and non-medicinal tobacco products.

Also, earlier this week, NATO became aware of a proposed local ordinance that the Vero Beach, Fla. city council was scheduled to consider at a public hearing yesterday. This new ordinance proposed to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products, except those with tobacco or menthol flavors. As drafted, this ordinance likely included a ban on the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes. NATO and other organizations filed written comments just prior to the city council meeting yesterday. At the council meeting, the proposed ordinance was tabled indefinitely and council members stated that the city needed to work closely with local law enforcement to ensure that retailers do not sell tobacco products to minors.