Lawmakers in Missoula County, Mt., are mulling the decision to extend a county-wide ban on flavoured vaping products.
The City of Missoula, Mt., city council adopted a ban on flavoured electronic cigarette products in November of 2020. Now, the county commission believes that it could extend this mandate into other jurisdictions in the county, per extraterritorial powers that extend the limits of the flavour ban by five miles (over 8km) outside of city limits.
The joint City-County Health Board also implemented similar restrictions, further validating the legal power of the flavour ban.
If the county commission adopts this plan, it would be the first time Missoula County’s government applied extraterritorial powers in four years. That previous time was to expand the Missoula city smoking ordinance.
To clarify for our readers outside of the United States, many states and local governments in the U.S. have extraterritorial or expansion powers that can be achieved through interstate agreements, like the extradition of a criminal, or, in this case, the expansion of certain regulations like clean air protections or public health orders such as a flavour ban.
“This initially started with the health board adopting a resolution and asking both the commission and City Council to do something to stop the epidemic of youth tobacco, especially using vape products,” said Shannon Therriault, Missoula’s county director of environmental health, via local coverage on the issue by KPAX Channel 8 and the Missoula Current. “We were seeing a giant increase in the number of kids becoming addicted to nicotine, and a lot of that traces back to flavoured tobacco products.”
On a national scale, Missoula County is one of several local jurisdictions mulling such policies.
Thomas Briant, the executive director for the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, wrote for CStoreDecisions.com that Missoula flavour ban is on their radar.
Briant notes that in 2020 alone, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets tracked and or opposed 160 local flavour ban proposals in states like California and Massachusetts. Missoula’s ban, specifically, was modified to only apply to flavoured vapour products.