Westchester shop owners: Bill banning flavored tobacco products will drive business elsewhere
Some Westchester businesses worry a ban on flavored tobacco products will drive their customers elsewhere.
"This would impact not only our businesses, our employees and the families of those employees," says Faheem Jamal, director of C-Store Operations and Chestnut Market.
If the proposed legislation becomes law, it would put an end to selling menthol cigarettes, cherry pipe tobacco, vanilla cigars and wintergreen smokeless tobacco in the county.
"While we understand that the sponsors wish to lower smoking rates, this bill will do nothing to impact public health," says Kent Sopris, the president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores.
Instead, opponents of the legislation argue people will still get their products across the border in neighboring counties where the sale of flavored tobacco products is not banned.
Worried about losing money and jobs, employees don't want to see it happen.
"Now I see it's getting serious, a lot of people smoke. Losing customers means less money, less employees, which could happen," says Chestnut Market employee Kareem Almomani.
County Legislator Jewel William-Johnson, who chairs the legislator's health committee, told News 12 while she understands stores are concerned about revenue and business, she believes the health of county residents is more important.
The bill was passed by the committee. The Westchester County Board of Legislators will have a public hearing on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in White Plains.