Washington County first in state to ban flavored tobacco products

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Sponsored by: Board of County Commissioners Department

Following weeks of public testimony and input from public health officials, the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) has repealed outdated Ordinance 599 and replaced it with new rules that include a ban on retail sales of any flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, flavored synthetic nicotine and inhalant delivery systems such as e-cigarettes, e-cigars, vape pens and e-hookahs that impart a taste or smell other than the taste or smell of tobacco.


On November 2, the BCC, acting as the Local Public Health Authority for Washington County, passed Ordinance 878 with three board members voting in favor and two voting in opposition. Based on findings that indicate tobacco use by youth continues to be a significant health risk, the board’s action serves to:

  • Prohibit the sale of any tobacco or synthetic nicotine product to any person under the age of 21,
  • Prohibit sales of any flavored tobacco or synthetic nicotine product in any retail establishment, and
  • Prohibit coupons, discounts and price promotions for any tobacco product.

The new rules also require vendor-assisted sales (no self-service displays) of all tobacco products and prohibits tobacco sales from a “moveable place of business” such as a vehicle or kiosk. Under Ordinance 878, violations are subject to a Class A civil infraction issued by a county code enforcement officer. The ordinance will apply countywide, including inside city boundaries. Although the ordinance goes into effect on December 2, 2021, it will not be enforced until January 1, 2022. 

As stated by Board Chair Kathryn Harrington, “The Board heard compelling evidence that restricting access of flavored products results in fewer young people using addictive tobacco and nicotine substances as well as higher quit rates. Even though the vote was not unanimous, we clearly heard each commissioner express agreement that the use of tobacco substances is harmful and marketing strategies that aggressively target anyone in our community—especially young people and marginalized groups—are unacceptable. I’m confident that this step forward, along with the rollout of statewide tobacco retail licensing requirements, will serve to protect the health of all Washington County residents.”

Additional information:

Media Contact:

Julie McCloud, Public Affairs & Communications Coordinator