Up in Smoke: Westchester County Legislators Vote to Ban Flavored Tobacco
Monday was a rather eventful day for Westchester County legislators. After a vote, a new law was passed by a score of 11-6 to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in Westchester County. Legislators stated numerous reasons for why this vote was important. As with anything though, there were many individuals who did not agree with the passing of this new law.
Why New the Tobacco Law Was Passed
There were two main factors being pushed by lawmakers as to why this new law being passed is so significant. One of these factors was the fact that flavored tobacco products, particularly menthol flavored cigarettes, have been marketed to and bought by many people in the African-American community. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...
"More than 80% of Black smokers
smoke menthol cigarettes"
Another important reason was also stated for why this new law is significant. That reason? Preventing the marketing and potential sale of smoking to kids. Advocates of the new law also proposed that this new law will also push forward the promotion of greater health for the entire Westchester community.
What are the Facts of the New Tobacco Law?
People who are buyers and users of tobacco products should understand some details about this new law. For starters, this new law does not prevent the use of flavored tobacco products in Westchester county, it only prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products.
Secondly, the new law also states that...
the health department, not the police would issue citations to stores who sell flavored tobacco products.
Detractors of this new law, small business owners in particular, are and have been concerned about the ramifications of this new law if it came to pass. Many small business owners, be it at delis, gas stations, bodegas, etc make significant sales on tobacco products so the banning of flavored tobacco products is a hit to their overall business.
For those individuals, they should know that this new law will not go into effect immediately. The flavored tobacco ban will however go into effect 6 months from now.
Thoughts on New Tobacco Law
Normally I try to stay away from putting too much of an individual perspective into particular issues. Mainly because opinion has a tendency to make it impossible for individuals to be impartial. My general assessment of this new law is that I understand the perspective of lawmakers and advocates for wanting this new law passed. Their reasons are understandable, fair and valid.
That however does not stop the fact that this new law feels like it won't accomplish much. Yes, the sale of flavored tobacco will now be banned in Westchester County, individuals though will still be able to travel outside of county lines in order to buy the tobacco products they want.
In addition, New York laws already make it impossible to legally buy tobacco or tobacco products if you are under the age of 21, so if kids are smoking it's through illegal methods that a new law won't stop.
Lastly, everyone knows that smoking is one of the worst things that you can do. It drastically affects one's health and makes people susceptible to numerous illnesses the longer they choose to smoke, namely cancer. You'd have to have been living under a rock for the last few decades to not know this, yet plenty of people still go to smoking as a suitable vice. If an individual has the required information, why should any government authority have the ability to prohibit an individual from seeking or acquiring anything, tobacco related or not if what they want conceivably will only affect them?
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