The Robbinsdale City Council on Tuesday voted to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to people 18 and older and allow sales of such products to shops only where tobacco accounts for 90 percent of sales.
The ordinance adopted on a 5-0 vote also set a minimum price of $2.60 for cigars and $10.40 for packs of four or more.
The city will have to give a 30-day public notice before the ordinance becomes law. It is anticipated it will go into effect on April 1 to give vendors time to adjust their inventory, City Manager Marcia Glick said.
Flavored tobacco products, which include cigars, chews, blunt wraps and e-cigarettes, are used most commonly by youth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sales of menthol, mint or wintergreen flavors are not covered by the ban.
Robbinsdale is the fifth city to pass such a law on flavored tobacco, following Minneapolis, St. Paul, Plymouth, Shoreview and St. Louis Park. It also follows cities such as Minneapolis, St. Paul, Brooklyn Center, Bloomington, Richfield and Maplewood in setting minimum prices for cigars.
The City Council had considered setting the minimum age for customers to buy flavored tobacco products at 21 but shied away from that since other nearby cities such as Minneapolis have not adopted that policy. “We just were not going to be an island, “ Glick said.
The changes in the age for purchase of flavored tobacco or e-cigarettes did not include raising the age for tobacco sales, which in Minnesota is 18.