Ordinance May Restrict Flavored Tobacco Products In Duluth Convenience Stores

The Ordinance Would Amend Chapter 11 of the Duluth City Code

Management from both smaller local convenience stores and big names like Kwik Trip are speaking out against the proposed ban.

Gary Milk House Owner Derek Medved carries a variety of flavored tobacco products. But the store owner does not want young people buying them.

“We’re here to work with the city on that to prevent of course selling to minors,” said Medved.

The Duluth City Council is considering an ordinance that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products at convenience stores.

For some of the stores, sales from these flavored tobacco products account for 30 percent of their revenue.

“Unfortunately the loss of a tobacco product that big of a category will result in loss of man hours and jobs,” said Medved.

Gary Milk House is informing customers of this possible ban and they already have a page full of signatures on this petition to stop tobacco regulations.

The Duluth City Council has been working on this ordinance with the American Lung Association for about six months now.

Councilor Barbara Russ believes this ordinance would help stop minors from buying flavored cigarettes.

“If we can get through another generation into adulthood with even starting to smoke cigarettes, I think we’re going to go a long way with eliminating cigarette smoking because it’s still a killer in this country,” said Russ.

A Council vote on this ordinance could come in the next few weeks.

“At this time I’m exactly not sure how many votes there are to support this, so we’ll find out,” said Russ.

If this ordinance does pass businesses would be given a 120 day notice to comply.

“A lot of businesses have probably quite a bit of stock that we would like to give them enough time to sell,” said Russ.

Under the ordinance customers would still be able to buy flavored tobacco products from smoke shops and these convenience store owners don’t think that would be fair or effective.

“Tobacco shops, smoke shops they are double in failure rate in the state of Minnesota stings and I think it’s a very scary thing to be putting in their hands the ability to hold the power in the market,” said Medved.

According to the Centers for Disease Control if cigarette smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking–related illness.

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