Judge Rules That Tobacco Regulation Law Is Unconstitutional

(NewsSpace.com) – Nearly 30 million people in the United States smoke cigarettes. In recent years, people have turned toward vaping, and the industry has catered to the demands by developing more products, including flavored tobacco vapes, pouches, and cigars. However, some cities in Ohio have banned the sale of such goods, citing safety concerns, particularly for children drawn in by the marketing practices. When the Buckeye State tried to pass a law prohibiting cities from issuing these bans, the case ended up before the court. Now, a judge has issued a ruling.

Governor Mike DeWine (R), who supported the ban of flavored tobacco products, tried to veto the measure twice. Both times, he was overruled by the state legislature. After it passed, several cities sued the state, trying to have the law, which would have gone into effect on April 23, overturned. While it was on the docket, Judge Mark Serrott of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court issued a temporary restraining order stopping it in its tracks. Then, on May 17, after he heard arguments from the City of Columbus attorneys and state attorneys, Serrott ruled that the Ohio law was unconstitutional.

The ruling is good news for the cities that wanted to put those restrictions in place. It should be noted that the injunction doesn’t apply to the entire state, only to the cities that sued.

Not everyone is happy about the move, though. Some Republican lawmakers say the bans only hurt the retailer because the customers will still find a way to get what they want. Proponents of the ban say that the products have led to a sharp increase of nicotine use in teenagers and are typically targeted at low-income folks and minorities.

This isn’t the last of the case, though. The state has indicated it will appeal Serrott’s decision to the 10th District Court of Appeals.

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