A final decision on a new proposal could prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco will be up to the Missoula City Council next week.
The ban includes mentholated cigarettes, flavored cigars and smokeless tobacco. As proposed, the ordinance would make it a violation to display and sell flavored tobacco at retail shops within the city, along with locations five miles outside city limits.
The council held a public hearing on the matter Monday evening and nearly 40 community members called in to give their input.
Opponents of the ban say this will hurt local businesses that rely on tobacco sales for the majority of their revenue. But the majority of callers -- parents, teachers, and health professionals -- said it's time to protect children from a harmful drug.
“Youth are uniquely at risk for long-lasting effects of nicotine exposure because their brains are still forming and making permanent connections until the age of 25,” said Missoula City-County Health Department Tobacco Prevention Educator Arwyn Welander. “Nicotine exposure during adolescence harms that part of the brain and controls attention learning and impulse control. Nicotine in any form isn’t safe for you."
The Missoula City Council will vote on the matter next week.