Wakulla Co. officials considering repeal of flavored tobacco ban (POLL)

Cigarettes and Gavel
Posted at 1:47 PM, Jan 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-22 10:14:55-05

CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. -- Wakulla County officials are considering filing an emergency ordinance to repeal a county-wide ban on flavored tobacco products.

Flavored tobacco is tobacco products like cigars, cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco products and blunt wraps that have had artificial or natural flavors added to them.

The ordinance prohibiting the aforementioned products (#12-35) was filed on November 5, 2012. If enforced, the only businesses allowed to sell or distribute flavored tobacco products will be those that only let patrons 21 years or older inside. It goes into effect on February 1.

Local businesses, according to an agenda for a Tuesday evening Commission meeting, have voiced their concern about the impending ban. The emergency ban states that Ordinance #12-35 would cause an "enormous upheaval" for businesses currently carrying flavored tobacco products, and law enforcement charged with enforcing the sale restriction.

Those for the ban say taking the products out of stores where children can see them is a big step toward keeping local youth tobacco free.

As a result of the conflict, the Wakulla County Board of Commissioners will meet to discuss the next course of action. During the meeting, officials will decide whether or not to conduct a public hearing and file the proposed emergency ordinance.

If filed, the emergency ordinance will have a $39 dollar impact on the County's budget (it will cost $19.50 per page to file). No word on how much #12-35 will cost the County if it is enforced.

The meeting will start at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 22.