Taking a Look Back at Changes in Tobacco Policies
In November of 2018, Brooklyn Center took on tobacco.
“I’m old enough to remember bringing a note to the convenience store for my mother to buy her cigarettes,” said council member Kris Lawrence-Anderson. “My mother has undergone triple bypass, lung cancer, and she’s still smoking. So this is really personal for me.”
Stories like that were common at the meeting where the city council voted to restrict tobacco sales to people 21 and older. That ordinance went into effect just before Christmas last year. And on the first day of 2020, a second restriction on tobacco sales will go live. Two students were honored in November for spearheading a campaign to stop tobacco sales in city-owned liquor stores.
Robbinsdale also made changes to their ordinance. In the Spring, the city also restricted sales to 21 and over. And in the Fall, the council voted to ban tobacco sales from its municipal liquor store. Brooklyn Center and Robbinsdale will lose about 6 and 10 thousand dollars per year respectively in tobacco revenue. But advocates say the public health benefits are worth it.
Meanwhile, Golden Valley went a step further and enacted some of the strictest regulations in the state. Their ordinance raises the tobacco sales age to 21. But it also bans flavored tobacco and tobacco sales at pharmacies. In addition, it raises the minimum price for tobacco products by a dollar. Businesses which sell tobacco products were quick to object, but one council member rebutted their objections.
“This initiative, on the part on the city council, is not spurred on by any displeasure with our business community or their ability to make any living,” said council member Larry Fonnest. “This is a public health issue and we are elected officials who took an oath of office to protect the public good.”
Golden Valley’s ordinance goes into effect on New Year’s Day.
Looking forward, New Hope may be next. The city will be considering similar regulations in the new year. They have been researching making changes to their ordinance. The process may begin with a public hearing in the first part of 2020.