“I don’t think we would be open for very long (if it passes)”
Kansas City retailers are speaking out against a proposed city ordinance amendment that would ban the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products, vapes and e-cigarettes.
“You tell us to take out a whole category, and you’re essentially telling us to close down the whole store,” Babir Sultan, who launched his convenience store business 16 years ago, told the Kansas City Business Journal.
Sultan’s 11 area convenience stores include the Fav Trip brand he founded. His six Kansas City locations employ 50 people, and flavored tobacco and related products comprise 70% of his sales.
“I don’t think we would be open for very long (if it passes). … It would be devastating,” he said.
The catalyst for banning flavored products is its effect on youth, according to the proposal. It cited how young people listed flavoring as a top reason for using tobacco within the past 30 days and how the addition of menthol to cigarettes has become the source of addiction for more than half of all teen smokers. Flavors mask the harshness and taste of tobacco, making it easier to use and then become addicted, the proposed amendment stated.
Local retailers aren’t opposed to being part of the solution, but an outright ban isn’t the answer, several business owners told KCBJ. They also said the city left them out of the conversation, even though planning began about a year ago.
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