Boston Retailers Protest Flavored Tobacco Ban

Convenience store owners rallied to protest a citywide ban on selling flavored tobacco products.

March 31, 2016

BOSTON – Boston Convenience Store Owners Association (BCSOA) members rallied outside city hall this week to protest a citywide ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products, reports

“You can go into a liquor store and buy a flavored nip—candy, gummy bear-flavored nip—if you’re 21. But if you’re 21 and you’re an adult and you want to smoke a vanilla-flavored cigar, you can’t do that [at a convenience store],” said Luis Blanco, BCSOA spokesman and owner of the Don Quijote Market in the South End. “That’s what we’re fighting for, to be on an even playing field.”

Convenience store owners told the news source that 30% or more of their in-store sales come from cigarettes and other tobacco products, and that many of their customers purchase other grocery items in addition to tobacco.

“We do serve our community—bread, cheese, milk, sugar, coffee—we have the right to serve them tobacco, too,” BCSOA President Francisco Marte told the news source. “We’re fighting for our rights, for our business, for our stores.”

With fewer choices for one-stop shopping, the group warned that customers may go to neighboring communities for tobacco purchases, and that banning flavored tobacco would strengthen a black market for the products.

Read more about increased age limits for tobacco purchases in the March issue of NACS Magazine.