The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners has supported new anti-smoking initiatives in St. Paul and the County.
On Tuesday, the commissioners unanimously passed a resolution on minimum minimum prices for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, as well as to ban redemption of coupons and discounts in stores on all tobacco products in Ramsey County. The resolution is intended to help guide and support the ordinance introduced in Saint Paul this month, as well as any similar ordinances that may appear in other cities and towns in the county.
In an ongoing effort to tackle the sale of tobacco to young people and other vulnerable groups, the Saint Paul City Council is expected to consider a massive anti-tobacco ordinance on October 27 that will reduce the number of tobacco licenses available in the city. set a $ 10 minimum price for packs of cigarettes; and ban cigarette coupons and price offers, including vaping coupons.
Keeping tobacco prices high is reducing tobacco use, especially among youth and low-income smokers, said Selena Salfen, a health instructor at St. Paul-Ramsey Public Health. Research has shown that the retail price of $ 10 a pack and regulatory discounts could reduce the number of smokers between the ages of 12 and 17 by more than 637,000, she said.
People who receive tobacco coupons and promotions are more likely to start using tobacco and less likely to quit, she said. The price discount can attract tobacco users in the form of signs at gas stations, coupons on the back of receipts in grocery stores or via mail, text messages or notifications in phone apps, some of which expire in minutes, “encouraging hasty purchases.” – she said.
More than 40 local and state organizations are backing St. Paul’s proposed ordinance, district officials said.
But the prospect of setting a $ 10 minimum package price in St. Paul and possibly elsewhere is likely to grab the attention of the retail industry, given that state law already sets minimum costs by brand and sub-brand. The long state formula takes into account manufacturer’s price, cigarette brand fees and sales tax, wholesale costs of doing business, and retail costs of doing business.
County commissioners have previously taken steps to regulate tobacco and smoking. In 2015, they passed the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance, and two years later they supported city restrictions that now only allow menthol tobacco products to be sold in tobacco shops.