Judge tosses out Washington County ban on flavored tobacco

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:46 PM PDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY Ore. (KPTV) - Washington County vape owners are celebrating after a judge on Monday threw out a voter-approved county ordinance that banned flavored tobacco products.

The ban, which was first enacted after county commissioners voted it in, was briefly in effect in January before it was put on hold for a voter referendum in the spring. Voters passed the ordinance, but a judge temporarily halted the order after local businesses sued.

One of those businesses was Serenity Vapor. Owner Jordan Schwartz has three shop locations in Washington County.

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Schwartz told Fox 12 that flavored tobaccos make up 98 percent of his business.

“We couldn’t stay open without flavors,” Schwartz said.

“We are super excited, happy obviously,” he added of the judge’s ruling. “We were worried about closing down having to let the employees go, worried for everyone. It’s our livelihood.”

It’s a big disappointment for Washington County leaders who’d hoped a ban would help limit access to their underage residents, particularly teens they say are at risk for getting hooked on nicotine, and enticed by fruity or candy-flavored tobacco products

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A county spokeswoman told Fox 12, “We respectfully disagree with the Court’s ruling and are considering options for an appeal.”

The American Cancer Society also issued a statement following the ruling, calling it “disappointing” and “against the interest of public health.”

In the ruling, the judge contended that the state of Oregon has the authority to ban flavored tobacco products, but not individual counties.