PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners has approved a ban on flavored tobacco and nicotine products.
During the final vote on Thursday, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury acknowledged the impacts that the ban will have on hookah lounges and vape shops.
“When we make these types of decisions, we know that there are going to be individuals who will be impacted,” said Chair Kafoury, “and this is not taken lightly.”
The ban will take effect in 2024.
The unanimous vote comes just months after a similar ban in Washington County was taken to court.
A large amount of discussion in November focused on younger people using the products.
In 2017, the Oregon Health Authority found that 57% of 8th graders who smoked used flavored products and that number rose to 65% for 11th graders.
Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multnomah County Health Officer, also brought to attention the targeted advertising used by tobacco companies, focusing on the African-American and LGBTQ communities who tended to have higher smoking rates.
Vape shop owners, speaking to the board, shared their fears that this ban will affect their sales.
County Commissioner Lori Stegmann shared that she understood the effects of the ban.
“I do know that these businesses were going to be out of business and that does give me heartburn,” Stegmann said. “For that, I am sorry.”
This final vote came after the board reportedly talked to 1,000 people, both online and in person.
“This is going to save people’s lives,” said Kafoury. “There will be teenagers today who will not start smoking or vaping and become lifelong addicts.”