Smokeless Firms Challenge New York Flavors Ban

U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Manufacturing and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Brands have filed suit in a federal district court against New York City seeking to overturn a ban on flavored tobacco products due to take effect on February 25, according to a Convenience Store News story quoting the National Association of Tobacco Outlets.

Last year, the New York City Council adopted and Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed an ordinance reportedly banning the sale of all tobacco products - excluding cigarettes - that contain a characterizing flavor other than menthol, mint or wintergreen. A story last year by said the ban exempted also pipe - including hookah - tobaccos.

In the lawsuit, the two companies ask the court to find the ban invalid and unenforceable, and claims The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act pre-empts local laws that establish tobacco product standards different from, or in addition to, those set forth in that federal law.

The suit claims also that New York City violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by enacting a law that restricts or burdens commerce between states. The plaintiffs seek a judicial order that the ordinance is void, as the ban directly impacts manufacturers and distributors located in other states that sell flavored tobacco products to retailers in New York City. Enditem