School boards support banning sale of flavored tobacco products in Phoenix

Feb 4, 2021, 4:45 AM

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)...

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

PHOENIX — Calls for a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products in Phoenix keep growing, while some smoke shop owners worry about how it would affect their businesses.

The school boards for Roosevelt Elementary, Osborn, Tempe Union, and Tolleson Union have endorsed a campaign that seeks to pass a city ordinance to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in Phoenix.

Members from other schools also have individually voiced their support and joined the Flavors Hook Kids Phoenix Coalition, which is advocating for the passage of the city ordinance.

“We’re just looking to have the cleanest, the healthiest communities possible,” Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson, who’s among the list of supporters, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“We don’t want anything to distract from the physical and mental health of our students.”

Watson said he got behind the proposed city ordinance because he recalls seeing an e-cigarette shaped like a USB flash drive when he was a teacher. He said that raised his awareness “of what was happening in our schools and how these products are proliferating among our teenagers.”

Meanwhile, smoke shop owners are concerned about how banning the sale of flavored tobacco products would affect their businesses.

“It’s going to hurt our businesses really, really bad,” Neda Khoshaba, a smoke shop manager in the Phoenix area, recently told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “It’s going to give cities next door a chance to take all that business from us.”

Khoshaba added customers tell her they “feel like their rights are being taken away.”

Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski is leading the effort to get the proposed ordinance approved.

At its next meeting on Wednesday, the Phoenix City Council’s Public Safety and Justice Subcommittee will discuss this and the options the city may have to address tobacco and vaping concerns.

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School boards support banning sale of flavored tobacco products in Phoenix