Cities and states target tobacco sales with new rules in 2016
Minneapolis will move flavored tobacco products out of convenience stores on Jan. 1.
Beginning in January, cities across the U.S. will prohibit the sale of tobacco to consumers younger than 21.
States and cities across the country will make it harder to sell tobacco products to young people in 2016, increasing the legal minimum age to purchase cigarettes and moving flavored tobacco products out of convenience stores.
On January 1, Hawaii will become the first state in the country to prohibit the sale of tobacco products or electronic smoking devices to consumers younger than 21. In hailing the increase to the state’s minimum age for tobacco sales, Lola Irvin, a health department official in Hawaii, said, “Most people who begin smoking, about 99 percent, start before age 21, so this will help our young people delay starting tobacco use,” according to KHNL’s Hawaii News Now.
The statewide increase comes as cities across the country are moving to increase the minimum age for tobacco sales.
Beginning in January, cities prohibiting the sale of tobacco to consumers younger than 21 include Attleboro, Lee, Lennox, Mansfield, Medfield, Peabody, Stockbridge, and Whately, Massachusetts; Santa Clara, California; and New Albany, Ohio. Boston will increase its minimum age to 21 in February.
The sale of flavored tobacco products in Minneapolis, Minnesota, will be restricted to tobacco specialty stores beginning in January. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the city ordinance will move flavored tobacco products out of convenience stores. The new law also increases the cost of cigars, setting a minimum price of $2.60 per cigar.
"I think this is one step we can take that will help prevent serious health impacts to people throughout Minnesota," said Council Member Cam Gordon, who introduced the plan, according to the Star Tribune.
Across Minnesota, the excise tax on cigarettes is scheduled to increase to $3.00 per pack, and the cigarette sales tax is scheduled to increase to 54.3 cents per pack in 2016.
In Montana, convenience store owners and other retailers will need a license in order to sell alternative nicotine or vapor products, effective January 1.