Flavored tobacco ban passes

Ordinance to be effective May 1, 2018


Katie Hardie

City Council member Thom Miller contributes remarks at the City Council meeting Dec. 4. Among other ordinances, the meeting banned the selling of flavored tobacco in St. Louis Park.

Nicole Sanford

At a City Council meeting Dec. 4, banning the sale of flavored tobacco in the city of St. Louis Park passed with a vote of 7-0. This meeting took place following a previous hearing Nov. 20.

According to Stlouispark.org, youth remain the primary buyers and users of flavored tobacco and banning its sale aims to reduce tobacco usage by teenagers.

City Council member Sue Sanger, who proposed the legislation, said removing flavored tobacco sale will increase citizens’ well being.

“Those products are clearly marketed and aimed at young people, and it is a way that young people have become addicted to tobacco,” Sanger said. “I think that (the ban) is a way of improving the public health in St. Louis Park by making it more difficult for the youth to gain access and use those products.”

Senior Annie Van-Pilsum Johnson said she does not believe banning flavored tobacco in St. Louis Park will prevent youth from continuing to use it.

“I think it’s a good effort but I don’t think it will be that effective because a lot of kids can just go to other cities that are just a few minutes away,” Van-Pilsum Johnson said. “I don’t think (the ban is) going to steer kids away from the use of tobacco, I think they can just get it by other means.”

Sophomore Eitan Weinstein, who spoke at the meeting Nov. 20, said he thinks passing the ban will prove beneficial for the community.

“It’s a really good sign not just for St. Louis Park, but for all cities in the West Metro that hopefully they’ll all move to follow similar courses of action,” Weinstein said. “It’s showing that the City Council really cares about both the health of the people of St. Louis Park and also just the future of the teenagers and young people living here.”

According to Sanger, in addition to improving public health, passing a flavored tobacco ordinance in St. Louis Park will begin the process of influencing other cities to do the same.

“I had two major goals in proposing this legislation,” Sanger said. “One was the public health issues, the other was to build momentum and to encourage other communities to institute similar bans and ultimately to try to convince the legislature to institute this kind of a ban statewide.”

According to Stlouispark.org, the ordinance will be effective beginning May 1, 2018.