Duluth Community Debates Over Flavored Tobacco Ordinance

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: February 11, 2018 10:43 PM

DULUTH - Duluth City Council caused debate in the community when they introduced an ordinance restricting sales of flavored tobacco to adult smoke shops only. A decision will be made Monday.

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It has been a controversial topic. People against the ordinance say this won’t stop people from smoking.

Kynze Lundeen, a president of UMD College Republicans, is against the ordinance.

"It’s a matter of individual rights, the government and the city council should not be telling us what we can put into our body, we know the consequences," Lundeen said.

Local business owners are concerned about losing money, costumers, and employees.

People who are in favor of the ordinance say the marketing the flavored tobacco products have, catch children’s attention.

Jodi Broadwell, the executive director of Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative, is an advocate of the ordinance.

"They look like candy right, so if the kids aren't seeing them, then they're not going to want to try them," Broadwell said.

Other advocates of the ordinance said it’s important to think about the children first.

Melissa Meyer, a parent facilitator of Lincoln Park Children and Families Collaborative, stopped smoking thanks to her daughter. When Meyer attempted to quit smoking, she was using flavored cigarettes. Meyer’s daughter ended up confessing to trying her caramel flavored cigarette.

Meyer helps in educating children and parents on tobacco prevention. Meyer is an advocate of the ordinance.

"We're not trying to take away your rights, no one is going to prevent an adult from doing what they want to do, they just need to go into an adult-only store so a child can't see that and a child can't get that," Meyer said.

Local businesses say this will not only affect their sales with the tobacco products, but also in other products they sell like food and drinks.

Local businesses say the required ID checks are enough in helping with the issue.

Bruce Nustad, a president of Minnesota Retailer’s Association, is against the ordinance.

"Retailers are actually a very effective source of keeping tobacco out of the hands of youth, in fact, here in Duluth, FDA studies show that 97 percent of the time, our local retailers do not sell to youth,” Nustad said.



Alejandra Palacios

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