The Missoula City Council at their regular Monday night meeting passed a resolution entitled 'Ordinance 8.38 Restrictions on the Display of Tobacco Products, and the Sale of Flavored Electronic Tobacco Products, and on the unlawful transactions consisting of selling or giving tobacco products to youth under the age of 18', introduced by Stacie Anderson and amended by Gwen Jones.

Public input before the vote included comments from proponents and opponents of the ordinance.

Phillip Gardner told the council that he is concerned about what he called 'dual users'.

“There's been a lot of misinformation out there and I would like to make this clear that sure there have been anecdotal experiences, and yes, there has been one study that has shown that people have gotten off regular cigarettes with these cigarettes,” said Gardner. “But the overwhelming evidence as of now is that people become dual users, and with dual users it can be more difficult not only to quit, but be worse for your health.”

Two others spoke against the ordinance. First was Earl Allen, Marketing Manager for Noon’s Food Stores, who carry the flavored e-cigarettes. Allen said his staff is well trained to keep minors from purchasing the products.

“Whether it be alcohol or tobacco, flavored or not, one of the main things that we do each and every day is that we train our clerks on it, almost first and foremost when they're hired,” said Allen. “It's a continual operation. As I've said to you over many times in while this process has been going on, our clerks have passed compliance checks, and have showed how we maintain the control point on these items.”

Mike Keith said the council is ignoring the criminal acts of minors who use the e-cigarettes.

“My concern is that both the City County Health Department and the Public Safety and Health Committee have refused to acknowledge these as criminal actions, and would do nothing to hold the criminal youth accountable for their actions, instead only seeking to hold the lives of private citizens and business owners responsible for somebody else's kids,” said Keith.

He also stated that the ordinance will eliminate his job as well as the livelihood of other merchants.

“If you do take this ordinance and pass it forward, I and about 20 other people in Missoula will not have jobs,” he said “I currently make about $800 a month. My expenses are over that amount and I would need the assistance of this Trinity housing project (approved on Monday night by the council in a separate vote). So thank you for getting that moving, and thank you for your time today.”

The vote was 8 to 4 to approve the ordinance, with John Contos, Jesse Ramos, Sandra Vaseka and Heather Harp in opposition.

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