MINNEAPOLIS -- A new website, Tobacco Ordinances – Take Another Look (TOTAL), is proving to be a valuable resource for retailers in the ongoing effort to respond to restrictive and prohibitory local tobacco ordinances.
The website’s purpose is severalfold, including providing materials and talking points on a number of different tobacco-related issues. A video on the site, titled “You’re Being Robbed,” focuses on local governments taking away the right of law-abiding retailers to sell legal tobacco products to adults. The message in the video is important because retailers need to educate their local elected officials about how they responsibly sell tobacco products and the effect of sales restrictions or bans on sales and jobs.
Specifically, the website is designed to help retailers with the information they need to respond to restrictive tobacco regulations. The site includes viewable and downloadable information sheets on:
- Coupon-redemption bans
- Flavored-tobacco-product bans
- Local cigarette and OTP taxes
- Prohibitions on promotionally priced products
- Raising the legal age to buy tobacco products
- Cigar-pack-size and minimum-pricing requirements
- What are “social sources”
- The cause and effect of local tobacco ordinances
- The negative outcomes associated with the adoption of local ordinances
- Alternatives to adopting additional restrictions on the retail sale of tobacco products
Also on the website are downloadable signs that retailers can print and display in their store to demonstrate their resolve to oppose the restrictive kind of ordinances that ban the sale of legal tobacco products.
Retailers are encouraged to visit the TOTAL website and view all of the information that is available to assist in responding to proposed local ordinances. Local lawmakers need to understand that retailers are a part of the solution to prevent underage access to tobacco products and not a part of the problem. In fact, as demonstrated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study, up to 86% of underage youth obtain cigarettes from nonretail sources, such as older friends, siblings, parents and strangers.
There are alternatives to consider rather than prohibiting the sale of legal products, and the TOTAL website provides retailers the facts they need to inform lawmakers about their business and why restrictive tobacco ordinances are not the solution. The website address is www.tobaccoordinances.info.