Minneapolis City Council approves groundbreaking tobacco ordinance to protect youth health and combat underage smoking in the city.

Credit: FreePiks

The Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance on April 25 that would allow the city to sell cigarettes at one of the highest price points in the country. The council unanimously approved the amendment with the ordinance authored by Councilmember LaTrisha Vetaw.

It imposes a $15 minimum price—before tax—for a pack of cigarettes and other commercial tobacco products, such as a four-pack of cigars and chewing tobacco. It also ends price discounts and coupons, increases the financial penalties for licensees who violate city policy, and ends the sampling “loophole” for any new commercial tobacco products shop.

“These changes will protect youth and communities of color from tobacco industry targeting,” Vetaw said. “Tobacco is still the leading cause of death, and I am proud that our city is taking this important public health step.”

The ordinance will now go to Mayor Jacob Frey’s desk for approval. He has supported the proposal since its introduction and is expected to sign off.

The original amendment included the ban on indoor smoking for all cigar shops, hookah lounges, and other businesses that currently allow it. However, Anthony’s Pipe & Cigar Lounge in the Uptown neighborhood will be “grandfathered” and continue allowing customers to light up inside the lounge. Councilmember Aisha Chughtai proposed the “grandfather” amendment.

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