Missoula Business’ Sign Goes Viral: Solve Some Actual Problems Already


Little California, also known as Missoula, does things a little bit differently than most towns in Montana. And by differently, we mean that the city government operates more like that which is found in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, or another left-coast population center. And while the city is fighting hordes of homeless people they keep attracting to the city with accommodations, and while they claim there’s a police brutality problem, they are busy solving the problem of flavored water vapor.

Missoula has previously tried to ban firearms from their city limits, apparently unaware that the Second Amendment even applies to blue dots on the electoral map. That effort was ultimately struck down by LR130, which forbids cities from passing anti-gun legislation. But not to be deterred from nannying their residents, Missoula has banned flavored tobacco and vaping products within the city limits.

Missoula City Councilor Mirtha Becerra said regarding the proposed ban that flavored tobacco products would be prohibited and also flavored vape products, but said, “If you want to vape something that tastes like tobacco then you can still purchase that in Missoula.”

But you can forget about the assortment of flavors that people regularly enjoy mixed in with their smoking and vaping products, because the ban passed the city council on November 23. It goes into effect on January 25, 2021.

Otis McCullough, the owner of Bell Pipe and Tobacco Shop in Missoula, isn’t letting the irony of Missoula City Council’s priorities lying down. He placed this placard (below) outside his shop. Right now, that sign is going viral on Facebook.

The sign reads, “Missoula City Council Has: Eliminated Homelessness, Increased working wages, Stopped all crime…Just Kidding…They’re too busy wasting their time and your money trying to ban flavored tobacco.”

Otis McCullough told the Gazette, “There are better things to deal with than meaningless legislation that is (A) going to fail in court and (B) doesn’t do anything.”

According to McCullough, vaping products are quite preferable health-wise compared to the chemicals included in cigarettes, which are still legal in Missoula. And McCullough certainly isn’t wrong. A study conducted by University College London, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a study of 181 smokers that their health greatly improved by changing their smoking habits from regular tobacco products to vaping.

Medically speaking, nicotine itself has very few negative health consequences and is no more dangerous than caffeine. However, tobacco products – especially cigarettes – include additives that cause cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and other various kinds of respiratory issues. Vaping products often contain nicotine – the addictive element of tobacco – but do not have tar, the sticky substance that clings to the interior lung walls that cause more dire effects. What this means is that people might become addicted to vaping but probably will not suffer long-term physical damage to their lungs.

Opponents of flavored vaping or tobacco products claim that it is marketed to kids who are attracted to fruity or candy-like flavors. Freedom advocates, however, point out that the age to purchase such products has already been raised to 21 and kids cannot legally purchase the products.

Meanwhile, such products are not banned from sale online, meaning that Missoulians can still get their flavored nicotine fix and the only ones hurt by the ban are tobacco and vaping retailers in the city limits who are unable to sell an otherwise legal (and safer) product.


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