A Breath of Relief: Oregon’s Flavored Tobacco Ban Put on Hold

On December 30th, 2023, the state of Oregon was on the brink of implementing a flavored tobacco ban, poised to impact businesses and individuals, particularly those searching for alternatives to traditional cigarettes. This imminent enforcement had been a source of anxiety for many throughout the state.

Temporary Relief for Smokers

However, in a surprising turn of events, the Oregon Court of Appeals intervened just days before the ban was set to take effect, temporarily halting its enforcement. This decision brought a sense of relief to business owners, like Sheila Laplante, the manager at Vape Lounge and Tobacco Land and countless others who rely on vaping products, which account for a significant portion of their revenue.

“Oh, it took a lot of weight off my shoulders,” said Sheila Laplante, manager at Vape Lounge and Tobacco Land. “I couldn’t figure out what we were going to do next week with all this product.”


Background on the Flavored Tobacco Ban

The flavored tobacco ban had its origins in December 2022 when Multnomah County passed the ordinance. County commissioners had clear intentions behind the ban, primarily aimed at discouraging young individuals from engaging in smoking and vaping activities.

Concerns Raised by Tobacco Sellers

Tobacco sellers, however, had voiced their concerns, expressing fears that the ban could force businesses to shut their doors. Sheila Laplante, for instance, stressed the importance of protecting youth but argued that a sweeping ban might not be the most effective solution. She emphasized the need to find alternative ways to safeguard young individuals without resorting to shutting down over-21 vape stores, which could potentially drive youth toward unsafe alternatives.

Balancing Youth Protection and Business Viability

The real challenge lies in striking a delicate balance between shielding young individuals from the potential dangers of tobacco while ensuring the sustainability of businesses. One shop owner shared her thoughts about the potential ban in an article on Fox12 Oregon’s website, stating that she believes there’s a way to protect the youth without closing businesses like hers:

“It wasn’t going to solve a problem,” Laplante said. “Find a way to take care of the youth other than close an over 21 vape store down. I don’t want any of the kids out on a street corner buying juice from someone out of the back of their car or buying disposable vapes out of the back of their car that you have no idea where they come from. I just want to keep the shops open, people working, and our kids protected. That can be done without banning.”


Innovative strategies that achieve youth protection without embracing complete bans have emerged as potential solutions. Additionally, responsible regulation is at the forefront of discussions, ensuring that adult smokers have access to safer alternatives.

Multnomah County’s Response

Responding to the court’s intervention, Multnomah County made an official statement indicating that while the ordinance would come into effect, it wouldn’t be enforced for the time being. This decision has given businesses and individuals the opportunity to voice their concerns about the negative impact of the ban.

Potential Impact on Flavored Tobacco Ban Legislation in Other States

The unexpected turn of events in Oregon, with the temporary suspension of the flavored tobacco ban’s enforcement, could reverberate far beyond state lines. Policymakers and public health officials in various regions may closely watch the outcome and public response in Oregon. This case has the potential to be an example and influence the course of flavored tobacco ban legislation throughout the U.S., potentially prompting revisions of such bans in other states. The objective would be to strike a delicate balance between protecting youth while preserving economic sustainability.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What was the flavored tobacco ban in Oregon, and when was it scheduled to take effect?
The flavored tobacco ban in Oregon was an ordinance passed by Multnomah County in December 2022. It aimed to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine products. It was originally set to go into effect on January 1, 2024, impacting various businesses and individuals.

2. Why was the flavored tobacco ban temporarily halted by the Oregon Court of Appeals?
The Oregon Court of Appeals temporarily halted the enforcement of the flavored tobacco ban just days before it was scheduled to take effect. This decision followed concerns raised by tobacco sellers who argued that the ban could lead to business closures. The court’s decision provided temporary relief while further considerations are being made.

3. How did business owners react to the court’s decision?
Business owners expressed relief upon hearing about the temporary halt of the ban. For many businesses heavily reliant on vaping products, the ban’s enforcement posed a significant threat to their revenue.

4. What were the primary intentions behind the flavored tobacco ban in Multnomah County?
Multnomah County commissioners introduced the flavored tobacco ban primarily to discourage young people from smoking and vaping. The ban was part of broader efforts to address youth smoking and its associated health risks.

5. What concerns were raised by tobacco sellers regarding the flavored tobacco ban?
Tobacco sellers voiced concerns that the ban could force businesses to close their doors, affecting livelihoods and the local economy. They emphasized the importance of youth protection but questioned the effectiveness of a sweeping ban.

6. How can the challenge of balancing youth protection and business viability be addressed?
Achieving a delicate balance between youth protection and business viability involves exploring alternative strategies that deter youth from smoking and vaping without resorting to complete bans. Responsible regulation and ensuring access to safer alternatives for adult smokers are key considerations.

7. What is the current status of the flavored tobacco ban in Multnomah County following the court’s decision?
Following the court’s decision, Multnomah County announced that the ordinance would still go into effect but would not be enforced temporarily. This decision has implications for affected businesses and individuals navigating the evolving landscape of tobacco regulations.

8. How might the Oregon Court of Appeals’ decision impact flavored tobacco ban legislation in other states?
The decision to temporarily halt the flavored tobacco ban’s enforcement in Oregon could set a precedent for other states considering similar legislation. Policymakers and public health officials in various regions may closely observe the outcome and public response in Oregon, potentially influencing the direction of flavored tobacco ban legislation elsewhere.

9. What can individuals and stakeholders do to stay informed about developments in tobacco regulations and alternatives?
Individuals and stakeholders can stay informed by following updates from local authorities, public health organizations, and news sources. Engaging in advocacy and participating in discussions about tobacco regulations and alternatives can also help shape the future of tobacco control policies.

10. What is the key takeaway from the temporary halt of the flavored tobacco ban in Oregon?
The temporary relief provided by the Oregon Court of Appeals highlights the ongoing debate surrounding tobacco regulations and the need to find effective solutions that balance youth protection and adult access to alternatives. It underscores the importance of staying informed and engaged in discussions related to tobacco control policies.