Flavor Ban Faces Pushback from Store Owners

Marcony Almeida

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A retired federal law enforcement officer joined convenience store owners Wednesday (30) to caution against legislation banning menthol cigarettes, which he said would lead to an increase in crime and divert resources from fighting the opioid epidemic.

“I’m not here to talk about smoking, I’m here to talk about crime. Because that’s what’s going to happen right now if we begin these flavor bans and we begin attacking the marketplace,” Rich Marianos, who served 27 years at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said at a City Hall Plaza rally.

Marianos joined the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association and Boston Convenience Store Owners Association to oppose efforts at the city and state levels to ban flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, and flavored vaping products. The Ways and Means committees of both branches are reviewing legislation (H 4089/S 2357) based on a bill originally filed by Sen. John Keenan of Quincy and Rep. Danielle Gregoire of Marlborough to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

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