DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth City Council voted 7-2 this week to ban the sale of flavored tobacco in convenience stores and gas stations, KAT-FM reports. The ordinance, which goes into effect in June, would allow tobacco outlets and smoke shops to continue to sell flavored tobacco products.
Convenience store owners attempted to persuade the council that such a change would negatively impact their bottom line, especially with other retailers still able to stock the products. When the council first discussed the issue back in January, Scott and Sue Hansen, owners of Hansen’s Auto Service in Duluth, sent a letter to the council against such an ordinance.
“As a small, independent, locally owned convenience store and service station, we strongly oppose this ordinance,” the Hansens wrote in the letter quoted in the West Fargo Pioneer. “By banning the sales of these tobacco products, this ordinance would take away another revenue stream from the remaining small independent stores and represent a serious financial burden likely resulting in more store closures.”
Six other Minnesota cities have restrictions or bans on flavored tobacco products: Minneapolis, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, Shoreview, St. Louis Park and St. Paul. San Francisco voters will consider whether to ban the sales of flavored tobacco products and menthol cigarettes in June.