On April 26, the City Council continued its leadership of protecting youth against the harms of commercial tobacco products by adopting a new tobacco ordinance. The effort is two-fold—first, it prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products and second, it stops new tobacco retail licenses. On January 1, 2022, retailers will no longer be able to sell flavored tobacco products in Bloomington. After June 30, 2022, no new retail licenses will be issued.
Retailers who currently hold a tobacco license can renew their license annually, if they continue to meet renewal requirements. However, if a retailer closes, relocates or sells their business, their license will be retired. Over time, the number of tobacco outlets will reduce to zero.
This measure is in response to trends of youth tobacco use. Flavored tobacco products, including menthol, target new, young smokers. Menthol products have also been proven to be more addictive than traditional cigarettes. On April 29, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that they will begin the rulemaking process to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.
Research shows that decreasing the number of tobacco retailers in a community and removing flavored tobacco products from stores and social circles reduces the number of youth who start smoking. Bloomington joins a growing list of Minnesota communities banning flavored products and will be the first to promote health equity and public health through tobacco licensing restrictions.
For more information, including resources for cessation support, visit blm.mn/tobacco or call 952-563-8911.