Local Stores Fear Lost Revenue as Fairhaven Proposes Menthol Ban
FAIRHAVEN — Local convenient store owners are in fear of lost revenue as the Town of Fairhaven has proposed a ban on all menthol cigarette sales.
One local store, Jackson’s Variety, located on Sconticut Neck Road, fears the financial hit resulting from the ban would force it to close its doors.
Colleen Jackson, whose sister now owns and operates the longtime family-run store, discussed the family’s concern on the Phil Paleologos Show Wednesday morning, explaining that the store has no reliable means of replacing the lost revenue as the it does not have a license to sell alcohol.
“We’ve been in business for 52 years. Most of our sales are from tobacco sales. We are not a beer and wine store. We just have tobacco, bread and milk and that’s about it. Our sales rely on tobacco,” Jackson said.
“Eighty-percent of our store makes money off tobacco sales. Out of that 80 percent, almost 50-percent are menthol cigarettes. Forty-eight percent out of the sales are menthol. If you take that away from my sister’s convenient store now, we’ll go out of business. There’s no way we could handle that type of hit.”
National chains like 7-11 and stores that have a liquor license will not be likely to shut down from the ban, but are still expected to take a noticeable financial hit.
According to Jackson, the ban was proposed because the Board of Health classifies menthol as a flavor.
“The Board of Health wants to say that menthol is a flavor. Menthol is not characterized a flavor. The state of Massachusetts says, ‘nope, menthol is not a flavor.’ Flavors are like bubblegum or cinnamon sticks, things like that. Menthol is not considered a flavor and it shouldn’t be,” Jackson stated.
The Board of Health will discuss the proposal in a public meeting at Fairhaven Town Hall scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on October 23. The Board says it will be “an opportunity for any and all tobacco establishments and residents to have their concerns heard prior to the Board vote in November.”