Tisbury considers ban on candy-flavored tobacco

Proposed Tisbury tobacco regulations would target vapes that have candy flavorings like bubble gum and cotton candy. — Gabby Jones/Getty Images

The Tisbury board of health has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, July 23, at 4:30 pm to consider amending the town’s tobacco regulations.

According to the town’s website, the board of health will consider limits on the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco establishments, as well as limiting the number of tobacco permits issued annually. The proposed changes are posted at bit.ly/Tisburytobacco, and are shown in red.

“The biggest changes are the flavored vapes and anything that could be construed by the young population as it being a treat, as opposed to a vape including nicotine,” Jeff Pratt, chairman of the board of health, told The Times.

The public hearing comes as Cumberland Farms, which has a store in Vineyard Haven, has sued six boards of health for similar bans, including Barnstable, according to a report by WBUR. According to the report, Cumberland Farms opposes the regulations because it would force the retailer to stop selling flavored tobacco and nicotine products, while allowing competing businesses to continue selling them. Among the restricted products are prominent brands like Newport menthol cigarettes, Copenhagen wintergreen smokeless tobacco, Garcia y Vega flavored cigars, and Juul vaping devices, the report states.

Unlike the bans targeted by that suit, Tisbury isn’t targeting menthol cigarettes or even menthol-flavored vapes, Pratt said. “We’re going after the candy-flavored and candy-packaged tobacco,” he said.

At the public hearing, the board plans to set a cap on the seven tobacco licenses already issued in town, and will consider what happens if a license is given up, Pratt said.

Cumberland Farms declined to comment on the proposed regulations in Tisbury.