City Council Debates New Tobacco Rule

Tarmac and tobacco were up for discussion at the February 21 City Council meeting. The deliberation on the Kings Boulevard extension made headway, with an alignment getting the approval of the council. However, the councilors who were present also unanimously voted against accepting the application of the developer. Essentially, we now have an approved place for the road to go, but the developer will have to come back with more specifics of exactly how it will go there.

Following plenty of public testimony, and discussion from the councilors, tobacco sales in Corvallis will soon have a new rule to follow. The “1000 foot rule” will require all new businesses that sell tobacco or any product derived from tobacco—meaning the nicotine filled fuel for vaporizers is subject to this rule as well-—must be at least 1000 feet from any school where the majority of students are minors, as well as 1000 feet from any existing store selling those products.

According to statistics, the measure should improve public health. Studies have linked an increased of tobacco sales outlets with an increased number of tobacco sales. Several councilors pointed out that the correlation does not necessarily speak to causation. Councilor Mark Page also briefly spoke to the idea that adults, the people who can buy tobacco products, are capable of making their own decisions. On the one hand, the numbers indicate that limiting the number of tobacco outlets will help improve public health, but on the other, the local government may be becoming too hands-on in keeping its citizens’ hands off tobacco.

By Kyle Bunnell