Last night, the City of Shoreview passed an ordinance that will update a tobacco flavor ban to include prohibiting the sale of menthol, mint and wintergreen tobacco products on a vote of 5-0. The previous restriction that exempted these flavors passed in 2016. Existing tobacco store retailers that are 21+ with 90% tobacco sales are exempt from the new flavor ban. Also, the ordinance caps the number of tobacco store retailers licenses in the city of Shoreview to those that are licensed as of the date passage. The ordinance will become effective on September 1st, 2021.

The ordinance was introduced with an overview which included the conclusion that menthol causes health disparities among youth and minority communities. It was also noted that menthol sales are only 2% of overall indoor convenience store sales according to the advocates research findings. Per NACS’ studies, that number has been reported to much higher. However, city council’s overview noted that 50% of tobacco products are menthol and it went up to 56% during COVID because people turned to tobacco to cope. The ordinance adds menthol, mint and wintergreen to the other flavors already prohibited in Shoreview. Current tobacco (smoke) shops that meet certain criteria of 90% of sales are tobacco products, only allow adults 21+, and have permanent wall structure that is not shared with a similar tobacco license would be exempt from the flavor ban.