CAPE CORAL, Fla. - An attempt to crack down on candy flavored tobacco products. Cape Coral council will vote tonight on a resolution that wants retailers to voluntarily restrict selling or marketing the tobacco. But some retailers tell WINK News the move would hurt small businesses.
Supporters of the resolution say candy flavored tobacco products are attractive to teens and act as a gateway into tobacco addiction. But one tobacco retailer says the city shouldn't be able to pick and choose what can and can't be sold.
Some say candy-flavored tobacco, like chew, dip or snuff, is a trick disguised at treat, saying the bitter taste of tobacco is covered up in kid-friendly flavors.
"The kids are going to get attracted to them if they're seeing them advertised in stores. It seems like this is the norm," said Deborah Ithier, a tobacco prevention specialist. She says kids still get their hands on the products, even if they are underage.
"Most smokers start before the age of 18. They find a way," she said.
The Cape Coral resolution sites research from the Harvard School of Public Health, saying tobacco companies exploit teens with flavors such as green apple, cherry, and root beer.
Justine Blackwell works at "We Roll" in North Fort Myers. The decision wouldn't affect her store. But she does believe it will hurt small businesses that are following the law.
"If you do your carding the way you're supposed to, check your IDs, there's no way that anybody underneath the age of 18 can get the product," Blackwell said. "It just puts another stop on what we can carry, and what we can do."
The resolution does not apply to e-cigs, because they aren't regulated by the food and drug administration.