The City Council unanimously approved a city ordinance which limits the sale of flavored tobacco products to tobacco-only stores, at a meeting Nov. 21.
The approval comes after nearly seven months of working with the North Suburban Tobacco Compliance Project/Ramsey Tobacco Council for potential ordinances intended to reduce youth access to tobacco products.
The ordinance limits the sale of flavored tobacco products to tobacco stores, which require their customers to be 18 years or older to even enter.
The ordinance was hotly contested before the vote, with representatives from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets and the owner of the Circle K Service Station on Rice Creek Parkway advocating for the rejection of the ordinance.
Their reasoning cited that non-tobacco shops carrying flavored tobacco products would lose money as well as disputing the fact that youth would be deterred from trying to acquire tobacco with this ordinance in place.
A large majority also spoke in favor of the ordinance, including a junior from Mounds View High School and former Council member Marsha Soucheray. The Council also read a letter from two Council members in St. Paul expressing support for the ordinance.
After 50 minutes of fielding comments, the Council passed the ordinance. The ordinance will go into effect February 1, 2017.
Flavored tobacco products will then only be available in one adult-only tobacco store in Shoreview.
Mayor Sandy Martin was in favor of the ordinance
“Shoreview is showing leadership, as it has over the years,” Mayor Sandy Martin said in the meeting. “We are (making) a good leadership decision and hopefully many more communities will follow us.”
Saint Paul and Minneapolis are the only other cities in Minnesota that have restricted the sale of flavored tobacco products, reported the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota (ANSR). Other cities in the U.S. that have restricted flavored tobacco sales include Providence, Rhode Island, and New York City.
In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration banned flavoring in cigarettes but didn’t extend this to other tobacco products, ANSR reported.
The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting young people with flavored tobacco, reported the Ramsey Tobacco Coalition, an ANSR program. Katie Engman, program director, said she is excited to see Shoreview take action.
“Shoreview has proven itself to be a leader willing to stand up to the tobacco industry’s blatant attempts at hooking kids with candy-flavored tobacco,” Engman said. “Shoreview has always shown strong leadership and was one of the first cities to ban the sale of tobacco by vending machines. The city continues to showcase a long-term commitment to creating a healthy community. Shoreview’s leadership and vision make it a great place. We hope this encourages other communities to stand up to the tobacco industry and protect youth.”
In other action, the Shoreview City Council:
Held a public hearing and approved the transfer of an on-sale intoxicating liquor and Sunday on-sale intoxicating liquor license from Thomas Miester, owner of Meister’s Bar and Grill, to Tracy Mars, who will be opening a new restaurant at Meister’s location of 1056 Highway 96. The new restaurant will be named Shore 96 and is expected to open in early December. No residents had any comments to add for the public hearing, although Mars and Miester both answered questions from the council. It was approved unanimously
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