Cigar Aficionado

New York Tobacconists Lobby for Flavored Tobacco Ban Exemption

If there's one thing that the New York Tobacconist's Association wanted to implore to the New York City Board of Health Tuesday morning it was this: Children do not frequent professional tobacconists. This was the recurring theme communicated by some of New York's vociferous tobacco shop specialists as they made their case in downtown Manhattan for an exemption to the flavored tobacco ban originally slated to go into effect earlier this year.

The law, which was endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was based on the premise that flavored tobacco is marketed to children and aims to ban the sale of any flavored tobacco of any kind within the five boroughs of New York City, including pipe tobacco, though it leaves an exemption for menthol and wintergreen flavored products. Signed in October, this measure was postponed in February pending clearer, less ambiguous language in the legislation.

"Children do not come into tobacconists and buy thousand dollar humidors or pipe tobacco," said Ronald Melendi, general manager of De La Concha Tobacconist and the president of the Association. "I ask that the New York Board of Health not enforce the flavor ban when it comes to professional tobacconists. Let's keep tobacco out of the hands of children, but let's protect the tobacconist as well."

For more on this story, see Tuesday's Cigar Insider.