Advocacy

Tobacco Prevention in Central Minnesota

The dangers of tobacco are widely known, but that does not mean tobacco prevention advocacy can slow down. The tobacco industry has incredible resources to protect their business and put tobacco in the hands of young people. While strict regulations have forbidden tobacco from advertising like they used to, their lobbyists have found more subtle ways of introducing tobacco to new customers.

Edina, Minnesota recently made a landmark decision in the effort to improve health and wellness by becoming the first city in the state to push the age limit for buying tobacco products to 21. Many cities are now making motions to follow suit. Feeling Good MN has many initiatives to keep tobacco prevention advocacy strong:

Using tobacco is a personal choice, but one that should only be made when someone is old enough to know of and understand the consequences. We’re fighting to make sure everyone in Central Minnesota has that chance.

Connect with us today and learn how you can get involved in updating our local tobacco ordinances to help reduce tobacco’s harm in our communities.

Local point-of-sale strategies enhance state tobacco control efforts in the following ways:

  • Decrease tobacco use and impulse purchases of harmful products
  • Reduce tobacco-related health disparities
  • Counter the amount of dollars being spent on marketing by the tobacco industry
  • Increase community awareness of tobacco industries practices
  • Communicate health information
  • Improve compliance with tobacco control strategies

Changing the Factors That Influence Tobacco Use for Young People

Flavors

Restrict the sale of fruit, candy and menthol flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco shops. Kid-friendly tobacco products, such as grape cigars, cherry chew and menthol cigarettes, are currently available in places where youth shop, such as corner stores and gas stations. Policies restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco shops, seek to limit the exposure children have to these products.

Age

Increasing the age to Cities in Minnesota with Tobacco 21 ordinances: Increasing the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 is a policy initiative which has taken off across the country. Five states and over 280 communities have raised the legal tobacco purchase age. Tobacco 21 (T21) is supported by many, including current and past tobacco users.

Cities in Minnesota with Tobacco 21 ordinances:

  • Bloomington
  • Edina
  • Falcon Heights
  • Minneapolis
  • North Mankato
  • Plymouth
  • Richfield
  • Roseville
  • Shoreview
  • St. Louis Park
  • St. Peter

High Prices

Setting a minimum price for cigars can prevent youth from purchasing single, easily concealed tobacco products. These products are kid-friendly because they look and smell like candy, and in some cases, are sold for less than actual candy – 89 cents in some local communities for flavors like grape, peach or cherry. In reaction, several communities across Minnesota have set minimum prices for non-premium cigars at $2.60 each. The price increases as the pack size gets larger, the new pricing structure makes these cigars less appealing to youth.

Stop Sampling

The Freedom to Breathe Act (2007) includes language allowing tobacco product shops to provide samples to customers. While the legislative intent was for retailers to provide single samples, many tobacco stores have exploited this loophole to allow the sampling of their products for longer periods of time. Often, these stores have a bar or lounge-like atmosphere, encouraging patrons to stay longer. One way localities can close this loophole is to pass policies prohibiting sampling of tobacco product. This would apply to all products, including cigars, hookah and e-cigarettes/e-juice. This type of policy restores the intent of the Freedom to Breathe Act and protects employees of these shops and lounges from dangerous secondhand smoke/vapor exposure.