MN Legislature to address flavored tobacco

Fri 2-19-2021

A proposal to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products in Minnesota has resurfaced in the Legislature. The bill, which cleared a House committee Wednesday, comes with renewed backing of those wanting to address health disparities across the state. The measure would prohibit retailers from selling flavored tobacco and related products, including menthol cigarettes. Bill sponsor Cedrick Frazier says now is the time to restrict items that have been heavily marketed in communities of color...MNC Feb 19 cut 1 

  "Let's put the health of our kids – and the health of our Black brothers and sisters – ahead of Big Tobacco profits."

Supporters also say the move would address the dangers of vaping among teens and young adults. At this week's hearing, there was opposition from those representing retailers, who say the ban would push buyers into other states while creating a dangerous underground market.

But Laura Smith, of Clear-Way Minnesota and Minnesotans for a Smoke Free Generation, says in light of last year's racial reckoning and the pandemic, there's more urgency to address health disparities facing marginalized communities, and reducing tobacco dependency would be a big help...MNC Feb 19 cut 2 

  "And we think that should be a huge impetus for getting this done this session."

Late last year, the Minnesota House Select Committee on Racial Justice recommended this type of action as part of a broader effort to eliminate disparities. Meanwhile, more than dozen Minnesota cities have enacted their own restrictions for selling flavored tobacco.

**Story courtesy of Minnesota News Connection**