Minnesota City Restricts Menthol

Duluth becomes fifth city in state to take products out of convenience stores

DULUTH, Minn. -- Duluth has become the latest city nationally and the fifth in Minnesota to restrict the sale of menthol and other flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco shops, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

With its 7 to 2 vote, the City Council on Feb. 12 passed the ordinance that will limit sales to six adult-only tobacco stores in the city within the next 120 days. The city currently has 84 outlets that hold tobacco licenses.

“This new law is just another step to prevent kids from becoming addicted,” said Pat McKone, senior regional director of tobacco control for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. “Local tobacco control policies are effective and reduce the number of people who become addicted to tobacco products. Passing this law effectively tells Big Tobacco that they are not welcome in our city.”

Studies show that 28% of Duluth 11th-graders have used tobacco in the past 30 days, and nearly 75% of young users choose flavored tobacco. Additionally, teens who try menthol and flavored tobacco are three times more likely to smoke.

Duluth joins Minnesota cities such as St. Louis Park, Robbinsdale, St. Paul and Minneapolis in limiting the sales of menthol and other flavored tobacco products.

Elsewhere in Minnesota, the City Council in Mankato voted on Feb. 12 to reject a measure that would have raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. Several residents, health care providers and supporters of the measure wearing “Tobacco 21” shirts made their case to the City Council during a public hearing and discussion that lasted nearly two hours. Some business owners spoke against it. In the end, the council voted 4 to 3 against the measure.

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