Needham bans flavored cigarettes, e-cigarettes

NEEDHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - All flavored tobacco products will soon be banned in Needham.

At their meeting Friday, the Needham Board of Health unanimously approved the ban of flavored tobacco products beginning July 1.

“We are estimating that 60 to 70 percent of our high school students at one point in time or another have tried vaping,” Chair of the Needham Board of Health Dr. Stephan Epstein said.

The town of Needham has already banned candy-flavored vapes. This new law will prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes, mint-flavored chewing tobacco, and all vape flavors with the exception of regular tobacco.

“It is going to drop our profits by like 40 percent or 50 percent,” convenience store owner Humam Alsultan said. “It’s scary.”

For many convenience store owners, the new law means wiping away almost half of the tobacco products on their shelves and a major part of their income.

“In about a month it is going to cost between like $20,000 and $30,000,” Alsultan said.

But Epstein says he and his fellow board members have not seen any substantial proof that the ban will impact store owners in such a drastic way.

He also said that he has never seen a store go out of business in other cities that have banned flavored products.

Anyone caught selling the prohibited products after July 1 will be fined $300 per offense.

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