Robbinsdale Eliminates Tobacco Sales at City Store on Jan. 1
The city of Robbinsdale is taking a closer look at selling tobacco at their city-run wine and spirits store. Robbinsdale has been taking steps to further regulate tobacco, by limiting flavored tobacco products and raising the purchase age to 21.
The city manager says a question has come up a few times during public hearings. As a matter of public health, should the city be selling tobacco at all in their store?
The question came up again in public comment on October 1st.
So, the city council discussed the matter this week.
“I don’t think it’s going to stop one person from smoking,” said council member Bill Blonigan, who spoke in favor of keeping tobacco sales. “What we are really doing is cutting our park and rec budget by ten thousand dollars a year.”
In researching tobacco sales at Robbinsdale Wine and Spirits, annual profit from sales in the last fiscal year was $9, 874. This represents 1.64 percent of total sales and .89 percent of the store’s total profits. Money goes into the parks and recreation fund.
But those council members in the majority argued that it was a matter of principle.
“As a city, I don’t want to be associated with the tobacco industry and making a profit on the tobacco industry, even though we can do positive things with those dollars,” said council member Dan Rogan.
Edina does not sell tobacco products at their municipal liquor store. Two students spoke in Brooklyn Center’s public forum last week about cutting sales.
Robbinsdale’s last day to sell tobacco products in their municipal store will be December 31, 2019.