Add Shoreview to the small but growing list of cities that have taken the step of restricting sales of candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco stores.
Last night, Shoreview’s City Council voted unanimously to join Minneapolis and St. Paul in passing a policy to prevent youth from being exposed to products like grape cigarillos and cherry chewing tobacco at kid-friendly stores.
This bold action puts the health of kids ahead of Big Tobacco. As one testifier noted, tobacco companies are looking for a profit, and flavoring is a draw for youth.
Fun, kid-friendly flavoring can make youth believe tobacco products aren’t harmful and lure them into a lifetime of addiction. Council Member Ady Wickstrom noted last night that her grandfather was a lifelong smoker. She said if her vote could save one person from the difficult death he experienced, it would be worth it.
After the vote was taken, Mayor Sandy Martin acknowledged business owners’ concerns about the new policy, but she went on to say Shoreview is going to be a leader in doing the right thing, and she hoped many more communities will follow them.
Council Member Cory Springhorn said that, just as the City of St. Paul sent Shoreview a letter encouraging us to adopt this policy, the Shoreview Council would write letters to other communities asking them to protect kids too.
Only a few localities across the country have taken this strong step, but hopefully more will follow.