Officials in Minneapolis want to impose more severe restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco. Those who proposed the idea say that the restriction will help to keep e-cigarettes and flavoured little cigars from attracting young smokers. However, convenience store owners oppose the initiative saying that it goes too far.
Back in 2009, Minneapolis banned flavored cigarettes, except menthols. However, tobacco industry created new flavoured tobacco products in order to circumvent the law.
During the meeting with Minneapolis City Council committee, anti-smoking advocate Gloria Liliana Cazanacli said that the new flavoured products are targeting kids in order to attract them to buy them.
She also said that kids are attracted by little cigars because they come in sweet fruit flavours such as cherry and vanilla. Certainly, kids want to try it.
Cazanacli considers that it is very important to adopt the ordinance banning sale of flavored tobacco in form of cigarettes and cigars. They should not be sold in convenience stores and gas stations, but instead should be sold in specialized tobacco shops. It would be a good idea to keep minors away from these shops and that would be a task fot the owners.
Now the minimum price for a cigar is $0.50 or $1 and should be $2.60. Physician Paul Pentel spent years on helping people to quit smoking during his work in the Clinic for dependent people. He says that the proposed law will have more effects than new anti-smoking drug. The problem of nicotine dependence is easier to prevent than to cure.
Convenience store owners disagree with the proposed restrictions, because they say that cigars are a legal product and almost 20% of adults smoke, therefore those people should have the possibility to buy flavoured tobacco products. 40% of their sales are tobacco products, and the change would lead to revenue loss.
Totally, in Minneapolis there are 355 licensed tobacco retailers, and the proposed ordinance would leave only 15 shops to sell flavoured tobacco.