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Citing dangers to kids and teens, Syracuse seeks to limit tobacco retailers

Bret Bostock

The city of Syracuse is considering a limit on the number of stores that can sell tobacco products.

Antonio Palmer from Tobacco Free CNY said smoke shops across the city are targeting their future customers: kids and teens.

"They go to these stores daily,” said Palmer. “These are the products that they're seeing each and every day. These are the products that they're seeing their peers, adults, people they look up to, use each and every day."

That’s why Tobacco Free CNY is supporting a new proposal that would put a cap on the number of stores that can sell tobacco products in the city. The law would also stop stores from opening within 750 feet of a school, public park, or other tobacco retailer.

Syracuse assistant corporation counsel Greg Fair said existing businesses in those locations would be grandfathered in.

"If for some reason, they lose their license or they don't apply in the future, then they would be prohibited from continuing to operate there,” said Fair.

The city would cap the number of licenses at 198 and would reduce the number of shops over time by only issuing one license for every two licenses that are no longer active.

District 2 Councilor Pat Hogan said he thinks the proposal is a good idea.

"Obviously, a lot of us are concerned with the vaping products and also the use of cigarettes by some of our preteens and our teenagers,” said Hogan.

The Common Council is expected to address the resolution at its next meeting Monday, July 24.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.