St. Paul City Council votes unanimously to protect kids from flavored tobacco

Ordinance will keep dangerous products out of kids' hands

Jan 06, 2016, 20:15 ET from ClearWay Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The St. Paul City Council voted tonight to adopt an ordinance restricting sales of fruit- and candy-flavored tobacco products to adults-only tobacco stores and setting a minimum price of $2.60 for cigars. ClearWay Minnesota supports these common-sense measures.

"With this measure, St. Paul is protecting the health of its young citizens," said Andrea Mowery, Vice President at ClearWay Minnesota. "Not only does this action make the city healthier, it can encourage other communities and the state to act as well."

Research shows that flavored tobacco products are appealing to kids. Fruit and candy flavors can mask the harsh taste of tobacco, but they carry the same health dangers as tobacco-flavored products. Almost 90 percent of addicted adult smokers started smoking as teenagers, and it has been shown that the tobacco industry markets these products to young people. Internal industry documents show industry executives wrote that flavored tobacco products have appeal "especially in the 12-24 [age] group."

Among today's testifiers was Traielle Godfrey, a junior at Johnson High School. "Flavored products are just as deadly and addictive as the stuff that isn't flavored," Godfrey said. "They are all appealing to young people. You have the chance to make sure that kids in the future won't lose loved ones too soon or struggle with years of addiction," he told Council Members.

Increasing the price of flavored tobacco products can make them less attractive and affordable for kids. Minneapolis and Bloomington recently also set a minimum price for cheap cigars to $2.60 each. Establishing the same minimum price in St. Paul will create a more uniform policy across the metro area and ease enforcement.


SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota