Saturday, October 23, 2021

St. Paul considers comprehensive anti-tobacco ordinance that includes $10 minimum on cigarette packs

In an ongoing effort to crack down on the sale of tobacco to young people and other vulnerable groups, St. Paul’s City Council will soon vote on a comprehensive anti-tobacco ordinance that would reduce the number of tobacco licenses available in the city, a $10 set Will do Minimum prices for packs of cigarettes and restrictions on cigarette coupons and price promotions, including vaping coupons.

Retail industry opponents and anti-tobacco supporters alike agree that the proposal would amount to the most aggressive tobacco sales restrictions in the country.

“We’ve been working on this for about two years,” said Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota president Jean Vigeum. “What started primarily as a price discount ordinance has largely become an all-encompassing non-smoking ordinance. Some of it is pretty spectacular.”

To their best research, only New York and Providence, RI, have gone so far as to ban cigarette discounts or coupons, a popular sales attraction used by established convenience store chains to attract customers. The St. Paul Ordinance goes even further by banning coupons for vape products at vape stores.

Creating a minimum pack price of $10 is likely to attract scrutiny from the retail industry, given that state law already sets minimum costs by brand and sub-brand. A long state formula takes into account the manufacturer price, a cigarette stamp duty and sales tax, the wholesale cost of doing business and the retail cost of doing business.

Bruce Nustad, president of the Minnesota Retailers Association, said the council’s proposal “seems like an ill-timed ordinance,” noting that stores have been hit by the recession, the pandemic, and competition from online retailers, with a view to selling flavored tobacco. On top of previous council sanctions against. .

“This is probably the most far-reaching local ordinance regulating tobacco I’ve seen in a long time or ever,” Nustad said. “What I’m hearing right now in St. Paul’s shows it’s too soon what the council has done in recent years in the tobacco sector.”

No more menthol cigarettes in liquor shops

Liquor shops will no longer be allowed to sell menthol tobacco products under the St. Paul’s Ordinance. Including that provision in the new ordinance was of particular importance to anti-smoking advocates in communities of color, which are home to a greater number of liquor stores.

The Ordinance will create two classes or classifications of licenses to sell tobacco. A “tobacco shop” license would include convenience stores and grocers selling tobacco products. A “Tobacco Product Store” license will be required for those specialized stores where at least 90 percent of the sales are of tobacco products.

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The total limit for tobacco shop licenses will be 150, which is significantly less than the 190 licenses operating in St. Paul today.

Existing license holders will not lose their licenses, but it will take years for a new license to become available. The number of licenses for tobacco products shops will be capped at 25 as against 39 today.

St Paul’s Department of Safety spokeswoman Suzanne Donovan said, “Any change in the number of license issues for establishments will happen over time, as existing license holders go out of business, decide not to renew, etc. ” Inspection, in an email.

Wegum noted that the number of licenses in operation has declined over the past decade. In 2018, the last time the council capped tobacco licenses at the then current levels, there were 242 licenses in operation.

Penalties for tobacco shop-license holders — such as convenience stores — that sell to underage buyers or sell flavored tobacco products will increase. They will more than double, from $200 to $500 for the first offense, from $400 to $1,000 for the second offense, and from $800 to $2,000 for the third offense.

Stores that display, promote or plead guilty to multiple sales of single cigarettes, menthol cigarettes or fruit-flavored tobacco will face a 10-day license suspension for the first offense. A second offense may result in license revocation.

to appear on Wednesday

The comprehensive anti-tobacco resolution, sponsored by City Council President Amy Brendmon, will be officially presented to City Council on Wednesday. After the public hearing, it can be voted on after two or three weeks.

The ordinance represents the latest salvo in the city’s ongoing efforts to rein in access to tobacco retailers and the tobacco industry in general. As the federal government cracks down on tobacco advertising targeted at young people, industry critics ramped up surrogate efforts, from billboards advertising tobacco products to fruit-flavored chewing tobacco in high-minority neighborhoods. Is.

Nustad said that instead of enforcing the new rules, retailers are calling for further study to see whether existing anti-tobacco ordinances are having the intended effect of reducing smoking.

Paul City Council, following the lead of other cities across the country, banned flavored tobacco from convenience store shelves in 2016 and raised the minimum purchase age to 21 in 2019.

The council banned candy stores from selling candy shaped like bubblegum cigars and big league chews in tobacco products in 2009.

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