Washington County must reconsider the flavored tobacco ban

Washington County must reconsider the flavored tobacco ban

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Petition to
Washington County Board of Commissioners and

Why this petition matters

Started by Rami Dear

My dad has been operating hookah lounges in Oregon for a long time. When the pandemic hit, he had to close the doors to all four King’s Hookah Lounge locations, which cut off our main household source of income. My dad filed for unemployment, which he failed to qualify for and he did not receive any grants or aid from the government either. 

After restaurants, bars, and practically everything else had opened up, my dad was finally allowed to open shop back up in 2021, while respecting CDC COVID-19 protocol to the best of his ability. At this point, my dad had already given up on one of his shops to focus on his locations in Downtown Portland, Beaverton, and Salem. At last, my dad was no longer coming home stressed and life seemed like it was getting back to normal, or at least we thought it was.

On November 2, 2021, the Washington County board of commissioners voted to ban any sale of flavored tobacco products in a narrow 3-2 vote. This news made our hearts drop, we thought it was completely unfair. “How could they pull a stunt like this on businesses that are finally recovering from one year of a pandemic economy?” This wasn’t something that Washington County residents got to vote on, but rather something the Board voted on that would take effect almost immediately. Two months is not enough time to make a “back-up plan.” 

Of course, we are biased in that we think this law should not have been passed, but we would be appreciative of a lengthy notice, or the opportunity to vote on this decision. Please understand that nobody in this house supports underage consumption of tobacco products, we simply don’t think this is the right move. At minimum, do what Washington D.C. did and exempt hookah lounges and bars from this law. Our business model is dependent on customers coming into our shop and smoking hookah in house. It is also worth noting that there is CDC data from 2019 which shows that underage tobacco consumption through hookah is significantly lower than other methods (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/ss/ss6812a1.htm?s_cid=ss6812a1_w#F1_down).

So hear us out Washington County, we’re a small, minority-owned local business that is still suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. All we ask is for is the courtesy to reconsider, or to postpone the ban’s effective date.

Rami Dear



200 have signed. Let’s get to 500!