Albany County, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Representatives for Albany County convenience stores spoke out Monday against a flavored tobacco ban on the legislative agenda.
The county’s “Law E” up for vote Tuesday would ban all flavored products, including menthol cigarettes and vape cartridges. The New York Association of Convenience Stores spoke on behalf of owners across Albany County who say they can’t afford to let that happen.
“People would still have access to flavored tobacco products, yet you would do economic harm to these businesses that are doing their job and keeping the product away from kids,” says President Jim Calvin.
Calvin spoke at a protest event at the Mobil station on Western Avenue, calling on lawmakers to vote no to “Law E”.
In contrast, Julie Hart with the American Cancer Society worked closely with the Albany County lawmakers who introduced “Law E” and says the legislation would improve health for everyone.
“Limiting tobacco flavors will be good for kids and adults. We know that almost all smokers begin as kids and they start with flavored products,” Hart explains to News 10’s Mikhaela Singleton.
The ban cites flavored tobacco and nicotine as ways to target young smokers.
“Kids that would have never touched a tobacco product are now using e-cigarettes or moving on to a different product or smoking, so it’s really scary and we have to take action,” Hart adds.
Meanwhile, Calvin maintains Albany County businesses are already at 99% compliance in keeping tobacco from minors and a flavor ban would only drive money away into neighboring counties.
It’s a self defeating policy. If you try to stop them buying it here, they’re not going to quit using it, they’re going to go buy it somewhere else,” he says.
Albany County’s 39 district legislators will hear from the public during a forum at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday before the 7:30 p.m. meeting and “Law E” vote.