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Baltimore Officials Seek Ban on Individual Cigar Sales

Andrew Nagy
Posted: May 29, 2008

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein and Mayor Sheila Dixon announced on Wednesday a Health Department proposal to ban "cheap, individually sold cigars," which are typically found at convenience stores.

"Hopefully, we can look back and know that we protected young people from ever wanting to smoke," said Dixon at a City Hall press conference.

The citywide ban focuses on the individual sale of mass-market cigars, and specifically targets the brands Swisher Sweet, Black & Mild, White Owl, Phillies, The Game and Prime Time. The ban would exempt retail smokeshops, cigars wrapped in whole-leaf tobacco and cigars that sell for more than $2.

According to the proposal, the city's health code grants the health commissioner the right to prevent disease and nuisances affecting public health. The proposal states that single, cheap cigars can be categorized as a public nuisance. Norman Sharp, president of the Cigar Association of America, disagrees with the questionable manner in which the ban would become law.

"It is a naked attempt to legislate via regulation," said Sharp. "The Health Department is going to try and do this [ban small cigars] on their own."

The Health Department will be accepting comments on the proposal until July 1, but it is believed the regulation will be implemented.

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