Saint Paul votes to restrict sale of flavored tobacco, raise price of cigars

Saint Paul votes to restrict sale of flavored tobacco, raise price of cigars

  The Saint Paul City Council showed strong leadership in protecting the health and well-being of its residents on Jan. 6. The City Council voted unanimously to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco stores and increase the minimum price for single cigars to $2.60 each. All cigars sold in packages of four or less must be priced at $2.60 each, while cigars packaged at four or more must be at least $10.40. “It’s a big deal that we’re going to make it harder for youth to access these products,” council president Russ Stark said. Saint Paul joins Minneapolis in restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products. Other places to restrict flavored tobacco sales include Providence, R.I., and New York City. Saint Paul was one of the first cities in the state to set a minimum price for cigars, but the ordinance will raise the price to $2.60 to match surrounding cities. “I think this is a good ordinance that sends a strong message to the tobacco industry,” said Councilmember Dai Thao, one of five co-sponsors of the ordinance. “We can’t trade the health of future generations for the tobacco industry’s profit.” The room turned green as Councilmember Amy Brendmoen, who first introduced the ordinance, had supporters of the ordinance stand up. Most of the advocates sported a green shirt that said, “The tobacco industry targets youth with flavored tobacco … but there’s nothing sweet about tobacco.” The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting young people with cheap and flavored tobacco. Alicia Leizinger, from the Ramsey Tobacco Coalition, said she is thrilled Saint Paul...
Richfield sets minimum price for cigars

Richfield sets minimum price for cigars

  Richfield joined a growing list of Minnesota cities that have established a minimum price for flavored cigars. The Richfield City Council voted unanimously on Nov. 10, 2015, to set a minimum price of $2.60 per stick for non-premium cigars and set a minimum of $10.40 for packs of four or more. “I’m very pleased to see this moving forward,” Mayor Debbie Goettel said during the council meeting. “It’s in the best interest of Richfield’s youth and health.” The new ordinance brings Richfield’s tobacco licensing ordinance up to state minimums and puts into place pioneering policies that will protect youth from the harms of tobacco. This policy adds Richfield to a growing list of cities that have set minimum prices for the sale of non-premium cigars including: Brooklyn Center, Saint Paul, Bloomington, Maplewood and Minneapolis. Councilmember Michael Howard said. “I think this is the ordinance that really sort of gets at access for kids.” Additionally, the updated ordinance prohibits the use of electronic cigarettes in city-owned parks and other recreational facilities; prohibits the sale of any electronic cigarette liquid that is not in child-resistant packaging and prohibits indoor smoking and sampling of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, except in establishments that are already licensed by the City. “This new ordinance will help protect Richfield youth from becoming lifelong tobacco users,” said Kari Oldfield, Legal and Community Outreach Coordinator for ANSR. “We are proud of the Richfield Advisory Board of Health and City Council for taking on this important issue and protecting the health of the residents and visitors of the city.” This new ordinance goes into effect on Dec. 19,...
Ramsey County regulates e-cigarettes, adds public entrances setback

Ramsey County regulates e-cigarettes, adds public entrances setback

  The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners continued its strong leadership regarding the health and safety of its residents when it voted 6-1 on Sept. 22, to include electronic cigarettes in its clean indoor air policy and prohibit use of e-cigarettes and cigarettes within 25 feet of building entrances. By including e-cigarettes in the clean indoor air policy, county leaders have established use of e-cigarettes will not be allowed anywhere conventional cigarettes are not allowed, such as work places, bars and restaurants. In 2005, Ramsey County showed leadership in passing one of the state’s first smoking bans for bars and restaurants. Two years later, the Minnesota legislature enacted the statewide Freedom to Breathe law, protecting all Minnesotans from the harms of secondhand smoke. “Ramsey County has taken a stand to ensure our residents, workers and visitors aren’t needlessly exposed to tobacco and e-cigarette use when they are in indoor public spaces, or simply entering and leaving buildings,” said Jim McDonough, Chair of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners. “Hopefully, the state will follow suit and recognize the need to protect all Minnesotans from the harms of secondhand smoke and e-cigarette emissions.” In addition to McDonough, Commissioner Blake Huffman, Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire and Commissioner Rafael Ortega spoke up in support of the ordinance. Commissioner Huffman lauded the “wonderfully diverse” community advocates who spoke at the public hearing on Sept. 8, while Commissioner McGuire concurred. Commissioner Ortega addressed the adverse health impact of electronic cigarettes, which emit an aerosol laced with nicotine, harmful chemicals and metal particles. “The bottom line is if there is any uncertainty about the impact it...
Minneapolis restricts flavored tobacco products

Minneapolis restricts flavored tobacco products

  Minneapolis City Council restricts flavored tobacco products The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously on July 10 to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products, other than menthol, to adult-only tobacco shops. The Council also increased the price of cigars to $2.60 per stick. Four cities in Minnesota, including Maplewood, Bloomington, Saint Paul and Brooklyn Center, previously adopted policies that regulate the price of cheap cigars. However, no other Minnesota cities have restricted the sale of flavored tobacco products. Nationally, New York City and Providence, RI, have similar policies in place that served as a model for the Minneapolis ordinance. The new policy means that only about 15 of the city’s 400-plus tobacco vendors will be allowed to sell candy-flavored tobacco products. In order to sell these products, the stores must derive at least 90 percent of their revenue from tobacco and be adult-only at all times. Council Members Blong Yang (Ward 5) and Cam Gordon (Ward 2) co-authored the ordinance in response to input from youth in the Minneapolis Youth Congress and the Breathe Free North program at NorthPoint Health & Wellness. The youth said these products are appealing to young people in their communities. “We heard loud and clear from Minneapolis youth that flavored tobacco products are what most kids use when they start smoking,” Council Member Cam Gordon said. “We believe that limiting access to these products will help prevent youth from becoming addicted to nicotine and dramatically improve the health of future generations.” Opponents of the policy included convenience store owners and chains, such as Holiday, SuperAmerica, Bobby & Steve’s, retailer associations, and Altria the...
ANSR participates in community discussions on menthol

ANSR participates in community discussions on menthol

St. Paul community leaders, public health advocates discuss menthol About 55 St. Paul African American community leaders, youth, public health professionals and interested community members gathered for a Menthol Community Conversation on June 17. National experts from the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council presented to the group about the deliberate targeting of the African American community by tobacco companies using menthol.  They presented information about what other communities have done to reduce the impact of menthol on their communities. The meetings’ intent was to raise awareness about menthol and its impact on St. Paul’s African American community. The St. Paul meeting was one of six meetings held that week across the Metro. Ramsey Tobacco Coalition and our partners at Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation coordinated and hosted the event.  Youth from Vision In Living Life: Change is Possible performed a skit to the audience to introduce the Rondo neighborhood and dramatize its history. Those in attendance learned how the tobacco industry has strategically targeted African American communities with menthol, the devastating effect, and what can be done to put an end to the...
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