Bloomington flavored tobacco ban takes effect Jan.…


Mike Alhataba says he believes 2022 will kill his Oxboro Market tobacco retailer after greater than 20 years in enterprise. The rationale: Bloomington will enact a flavored tobacco ban in January, then roll out one among Minnesota’s strictest tobacco rules later within the new 12 months.

After banning the sale of all flavored tobacco merchandise Jan. 1, town will provoke in June a sundown on tobacco licenses with the intention of eliminating all tobacco gross sales within the west metro metropolis.

Bloomington has lengthy been a pacesetter in tobacco rules, but it surely’s not alone in banning the sale of flavored merchandise. Starting within the new 12 months, 22 cities throughout the state can have enacted flavored tobacco rules, in response to the Affiliation for Nonsmokers-Minnesota.

4 different cities handed rules just like Bloomington’s this 12 months. Columbia Heights, Roseville and Shoreview now prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco to anybody youthful than 21 at adult-only tobacco shops. In Could, Shoreview accepted including menthol to its present taste restriction.

However Bloomington and Moorhead will prohibit all flavored tobacco merchandise come the brand new 12 months. At tobacco shops similar to Alhataba’s, the overwhelming majority of merchandise offered are flavored tobacco, not like gasoline stations the place different merchandise would make up the loss in stock. That is why he fears he could have to put off some or all of his six staff.

“That is very excessive,” stated Alhataba, who manages the shop owned by his father-in-law Khaled Aloul. “With the brand new legislation, I do not know what is going to occur. Some folks will lose their jobs. … I am shedding lots.”

In December, there have been 57 energetic tobacco licenses in Bloomington. Oxboro Market opened a second location this 12 months after securing a tobacco license in Could, a month after the Bloomington Metropolis Council voted to ban flavored tobacco and put in place the sundown on tobacco licenses. Which means when a retailer closes, the license will expire and never be renewed. Bloomington is the one metropolis in Minnesota and one of many few cities within the U.S. to have tobacco licenses sundown.

Probably the most sweeping and strict tobacco rules within the state took impact in St. Paul this month. The Metropolis Council handed an ordinance to boost the worth of a pack of cigarettes to $10 and ban the redemption of coupons for all tobacco and vaping merchandise, together with different measures, similar to decreasing the variety of accessible tobacco licenses.

What’s taking place in Bloomington and St. Paul could sign what’s on the horizon for the state.

In 2022, the advocacy group Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Era will once more pursue a statewide ban on flavored tobacco merchandise. The group says this step is being taken partially due to the assist that native insurance policies have had across the state.

“I positively really feel as if there’s momentum from communities across the state that they are signaling {that a} state coverage is one thing that legislators ought to take into account,” stated Jenny Track, senior communications and advocacy marketing consultant with Blue Cross and Blue Protect of Minnesota and spokeswoman for Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Era.

Track stated she believes the timing for such laws is vital when contemplating the excessive price of stripling vaping, which she and well being consultants name an epidemic.

The 2020 Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey discovered 4 out of 5 college students stated their first use of tobacco was flavored, and one in 5 college students makes use of e-cigarettes, that are most frequently flavored.

One other notable tobacco sundown for the state subsequent 12 months is the top of ClearWay Minnesota, the nonprofit tobacco management group established in 1998 with a small portion (3%) of the state’s landmark $6.1 billion tobacco settlement.

Track stated the absence of ClearWay will likely be felt in 2022 and the state urgently wants to speculate extra to fight the youth tobacco epidemic.

Lower than 1% of the $760 million the state introduced in from tobacco taxes, often called a sin tax, and settlement charges went towards tobacco prevention and remedy in 2020, Track stated. The overwhelming majority went into the state’s common fund to pay for infrastructure, schooling and public security.

The disparity is simple, she stated.

“It is rather curious that so little truly goes in the direction of coping with the problem that’s nonetheless the main reason behind preventable loss of life and illness,” Track stated.

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