BOSTON (CBS) – Humayun Morshed has owned his Dorchester convenience store for about ten years. He says a proposed ban on all flavored cigarettes goes too far. The bill passed by the Massachusetts State Legislature and now on the governor’s desk, would ban all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes.
Morshed says banning menthol cigarettes restricts customer choice and also hurts his bottom line. He believes menthol cigarettes are being lumped in with the issue of vaping. “Absolutely. That’s the main issue,” Morshed said. “Menthol cigarettes are dragged to the vape issue. People don’t understand.”
Store customer Carlos Nestor is a smoker, and bought some menthol cigarettes Thursday. He says he should have the right to buy menthol tobacco. “They’ve been around for so long, it would make it so difficult right now for the people who already smoke menthol cigarettes to get away from them,” Nestor said.
It’s an emotional issue. Those against the ban rallied outside the State House this week. But back at the store another customer says she supports the menthol ban. “I think the kids are smoking too much cigarettes,” said Aleika Lewis. “They start it from 12. I’ve seen them on the corners. I’m not for cigarettes at all.”
Morshed says he never sells to kids and is strict about checking IDs. He fears a strict new law might create a bigger black market for minors.
Now, it’s up to Governor Charlie Baker. A spokesman says he will “carefully review the final legislation on his desk.”