Tackling Tobacco: August 2022 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

The capital of Ohio pushes for a flavor ban, while a town in Maine passes one for the second time.

NATIONAL REPORT — Tobacco legislation and regulation is constantly under review at the local, state and federal levels. In this monthly roundup, Convenience Store News highlights the latest proposals and approved changes happening across the United States.


Woodstock — The Woodstock City Council approved a temporary ban on new tobacco specialty store businesses and cannabidiol (CBD) retail business. The 120-day moratorium — a 30-day ban will be followed by a 90-day one — went into effect until Dec. 8. The pause allows the city to research and study the impact of these types of businesses and the appropriate locations in zoning districts throughout the city, and prepare an amendment to the city's zoning ordinance.


Bangor — The Bangor City Council banned flavored tobacco sales for the second time. After it was forced to repeal a previous ordinance in April due to a procedural error, the new proposal passed in early August and will go into effect Jan. 1. It will then join the towns of Portland and Brunswick, which have similar bans that took effect June 1.


Albany — Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation prohibiting smoking in all state-owned beaches, boardwalks, marinas, playgrounds, recreation centers, and group camps. The bill exempts the Adirondacks and Catskills from the ban, as well as parking lots, sidewalks adjoining parks and areas not used for park purposes.

Many New York municipalities and local governments already have bans or restrictions on smoking in public places; The new rule will enforce a statewide prohibition and includes a fine that will be collected by localities.  


Columbus — A coalition of community groups, public health advocacy organizations and faith institutions is looking to have the Columbus City Council pass legislation to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored tobacco products in the capital city. The Coalition to End Tobacco Targeting is hoping to start a movement that would eventually ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products throughout the state.


Portland — Multnomah County health officials in Portland are drafting a proposal to ban the sale of flavored nicotine products. It will go before the county board to be reviewed in September. Last year, the Board of Commissioners in neighboring Washington County voted to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products.


Washington, D.C. — Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into law the Flavored Tobacco Product Prohibition Amendment Act, banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. It exempts bars and restaurants that offer hookah.