Miami Dade County Proposes Ban on Menthol; Flavored Tobacco

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Miami Dade County has jumped on the anti-flavored tobacco bandwagon. The ordinance proposed to county commissioners would prohibit the sale of any flavored tobacco product (including cigars and chewing tobacco) and impose a fine of $500 on anyone in violation of the new law. While this proposal is the first of its kind for the county; it comes on the heels of a law passed in the City of South Miami, which prohibits the sale of chewing tobacco.

Like the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the proposed mandate excludes menthol or mint from the flavor ban; despite menthol being far-and-away the most popular of all the flavored tobaccos. The biggest dissimilarity between the Family Smoking Prevention act and the Dade-County ordinance is the county’s inclusion of cigars and chewing tobacco in the ban. The integration of cigars into the list of prohibited products has prompted Jacksonville-based cigar manufacturer, Swisher International, to take action. Makers of the popular Swisher Sweets, the company has announced its intention to lobby Miami-Dade County Commissioners against the ban before the final vote, in July.

Regardless of whether Swisher International is successful in their attempt to have cigars excluded from Dade County’s flavored-tobacco ordinance, the law will likely do very little to curb youth-smoking. Extensive study and vast quantities of research have proven that teens are drawn to mentholated tobacco due to the numbing qualities of the smoke. Additionally, a significant percentage of adult smokers favor menthol cigarettes; banning menthol would have a huge impact on domestic tobacco producers’ profits.

Governing bodies can proclaim all they want that they have the health of the American public at heart; their staunch refusal to encroach on tobacco profits says otherwise.