Minneapolis strengthens law on selling flavored tobacco and cigars, makes them harder for kids to buy
The City changed an ordinance regulating tobacco products to protect young people’s health by restricting the places where flavored tobacco products can be sold and by making cigar products more expensive. The ordinance goes into effect Jan. 1. It will:
- Restrict the sale of flavored tobacco to tobacco-product shops and set a minimum age of 18 to enter these shops. The flavor restriction applies to all flavored (fruit, candy, etc.) tobacco products except menthol including cigars, chew, electronic cigarette “e-juice” liquid and shisha used in tobacco pipes. Flavored products’ availability will go down from 420 to 25 stores. Gas stations, convenience stores, bars and liquor stores will still be allowed to sell all menthol-flavored tobacco products, cigarettes and non-flavored tobacco products.
- Set a minimum price of $2.60 per stick for cigar products, which currently sell for as little as three for 99 cents. Young people are more price sensitive than adults.
With the same flavoring as candies such as Jolly Ranchers and Kool Aid, flavored tobacco can make it easier for young people to become addicted. Tobacco is still the leading cause of preventable death, and most smokers start before they’re 18 years old. Flavored tobacco has the same addictive qualities and health effects as regular tobacco. The nicotine, which is also found in electronic cigarettes, may cause lasting harm to brain development and promote addiction.
The ordinance began with efforts from the Health Department, Minneapolis Youth Congress, Association for Nonsmokers and Breathe Free North to raise awareness about the problem of youth tobacco use.
Read more information about what Minneapolis is doing to protect young people from tobacco.
Published Jul 14, 2015