Overheard: Tobacco ban tumult
The Duluth City Council voted this week to restrict the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored-tobacco products to Duluth's six adults-only tobacco stores. Proponents and opponents of the heated and controversial decision remain divided.
Small businesses being overburdened
"They think they're going to do something that feels good with the tobacco ban, but all it's going to do is drive business out of Duluth, shut down small convenience stores in Duluth, and send customers across the river to Superior or over to Hermantown. ... The big issue is cities across the state creating a patchwork on everything from labor laws to plastic-bag bans to sick and safe leave to minimum wage to you name it. There's a level here somewhere where that patchwork is starting to cause some people business and starting to cause big problems for statewide employers — especially for small businesses that can't afford the kind of systems that you would need to track these things. ... You're talking about a burden on small businesses that they simply can't handle."
— Jason Flohrs, the Minnesota state director for Americans for Prosperity (americansforprosperity.org), which has its Minnesota office in Burnsville, in an interview this week with News Tribune Editorial Board members
Youth win protection from tobacco
"We are grateful that the Duluth City Council took this historic step to protect young people from flavored tobacco, ensuring a healthier future. Keeping menthol-, fruit- and candy-flavored tobacco products away from our kids is another important step toward our goal of building a generation of Minnesota youth free from tobacco addiction."
— Molly Moilanen, director of public affairs at ClearWay Minnesota in Bloomington and co-chairwoman of the Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation Coalition, which is working, with more than 50 members, to reduce youth tobacco use, in a statement Tuesday