Minneapolis plans to keep e-cigarettes and flavored cigars out of the hands of minors by enforcing stricter restrictions on flavored tobacco. Flavored cigarettes have been banned (except menthols) since 2009, and now the city had redoubled its efforts on flavored e-cigarettes.
Gloria Liliana Cazanacli, an anti-smoking advocate, attacked e-cigarettes during a Minneapolis City Council committee meeting, stating that any of the new products containing flavored tobacco exist to target children. Moreover, she feels that because these kinds of products come in fun, fruity flavors they will attract kids.
Cazanacli feels flavored tobacco and nicotine (even in liquid form) should be kept out of convenience stores and gas stations. However, she does concede that flavored tobacco products could (and should) be sold in their own specialized stores. Like liquor stores, these tobacco shops would restrict minors and storeowners would be held accountable for adhering to these restrictions.
Convenience store owners feel that this will unfairly penalize their businesses. Their argument is that 20% of adults are smokers, and since cigars are legal smokers of age should be able to purchase flavored tobacco products whenever (and wherever) they choose to. Moreover, tobacco products can account for as much as 40% of a convenience store’s sales.
The ban on flavored tobacco was unanimously approved by Minneapolis City Council last month. The new rule will go into effect Jan. 1st.
“I think this is one step we can take that will help prevent serious health impacts to people throughout Minnesota,” said Council Member Cam Gordon, who introduced the plan.
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