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Flavored tobacco ban goes into effect in Oregon


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    BEAVERTON, Oregon (KPTV) — In the new year, people in Washington County will no longer be able to buy flavored vapes, tobacco or menthol cigarettes at local shops.

“If you’ve gone around town, you’ve seen people having to sell their product at 50% off or 80% off just to get rid of it,” Plaid Pantry President Jonathan Polonsky said. “They’re taking a loss on top of not being able to sell it.”

Polonsky said the ban will cost them 20% in sales.

“Even for those like us that maybe aren’t going to have to close their store, it’s still going to impact wages and benefits because we’ll just be that much less profitable,” he said.

The Board of Washington County Commissioners first passed this ordinance in early November, saying it was to lead more users to quit and keep young kids from getting access to these products.

Polonsky agreed kids shouldn’t have access to them, but this ban isn’t the right move.

“I have stores that are a half a mile apart. One in Multnomah County, one in Washington County. If a customer wants this product, a prohibition in a county is not going to work,” Polonsky said. “They’ll drive ten seconds, literally, further and they can get what they want. It’s the same thing with kids. They can get on their bike or walk across the street and get this in Multnomah County.”

Polonsky has started a petition to repeal this ban and get it on the May 17 ballot. So far, he said he has about 7,000 signatures. Washington County said 9,939 are needed by Jan. 31. The deadline for signature verification is Feb. 15.

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