Published 2 hours ago
on March 21, 2019
In a move described by some as “circumventing Duluth’s flavor ban,” at least two local convenience stores have constructed smoke shops within their premises in order to recover retail losses resulting from the city’s February, 2018 imposition of restrictions on flavored nicotine products.
Korner Store and the Holiday StationStore have followed a provision in the ordinance which specifies that flavored nicotine products can only be sold in dedicated tobacco and vape shops by allocating space within their establishments, then physically separating that space into a distinct “tobacco store within a store.” While some decry this as a “loophole” that is “circumventing” the city ordinance, both retailers first sought — and received — all necessary permits and authorizations from the city to accommodate the ordinance in this fashion.
“This was a no-brainer. If it’s
disrespectful, if it looks bad, if it’s throwing shade at the City
Council — they had no problem doing the same to business development
within the city.”Derek Medved, Owner, Korner Store
In a statement on their own tobacco store opening, Holiday Vice President of Operations Rick Johnson said:
“When Holiday opened its first tobacco shop in Duluth, Minnesota last week, it did so only after obtaining city approval and licensing. This was not a workaround or a loophole, rather the shop was created in complete compliance and support of the Duluth City Council’s ordinance moving the sale of flavored tobacco out of convenience and grocery stores into ‘smoke shops’.”
Some, however, are frustrated that these businesses have complied with the ordinance in a way that maintains adults’ access to products they enjoy. Pat McKone of the American Lung Association appears to have wanted no one, including adults, to have access to flavored nicotine products:
“Is that clever? Or is that just profit over health? The intent of the (ordinance) was to limit access to these products — the most widely used products by our youth.”
Ms. McKone perhaps fails to note that the ordinance — and the nature of the tobacco shops under discussion — does, in fact, limit access; specifically, it limits access of these products to adults, which eliminates the cry of youth access. Also, notably, her statement appears to show a misperception of these restrictions as an outright ban; they are not a ban, and appear to be specifically focused on striking a reasonable middle ground between addressing precisely the problem of youth access while also securing the consumer freedom of adults
John Castle is a contributing writer and news contributor for VAPE News Magazine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.