Protecting Our Youth

“Together with additional effort and support, we can protect the health of our nation’s young people.”

  Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Updating Tobacco Licensing Ordinances:

Crave the Change supports municipalities in Central Minnesota with drafting and updating licensing ordinances, tobacco prevention education, and the implementation of passed policies.

The highest impact options for tobacco prevention policies include:

  • Flavors

    Restrict the sale of fruit, candy and menthol flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco shops.

    Kid-friendly tobacco products, such as grape cigars, cherry chew and menthol cigarettes, are currently available in places where youth shop, such as corner stores and gas stations. Policies restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco shops, seek to limit the exposure children have to these products.

  • Age

    Increasing the age to Cities in Minnesota with Tobacco 21 ordinances: Increasing the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 is a policy initiative which has taken off across the country. Five states and over 280 communities have raised the legal tobacco purchase age. Tobacco 21 (T21) is supported by many, including current and past tobacco users.

    Cities in Minnesota with Tobacco 21 ordinances:

    • Edina
    • Bloomington
    • St. Louis Park
    • Plymouth
  • High Prices

    Setting a minimum price for cigars can prevent youth from purchasing single, easily concealed tobacco products. These products are kid-friendly because they look and smell like candy, and in some cases, are sold for less than actual candy – 89 cents in some local communities for flavors like grape, peach or cherry. In reaction, several communities across Minnesota have set minimum prices for non-premium cigars at $2.60 each. The price increases as the pack size gets larger, the new pricing structure makes these cigars less appealing to youth.

  • Increase Fees

    Tobacco retailer license fees should be set high enough so they – at least- offset/cover the cost of city or county distributing them and for the costs of conducting  federally required compliance checks. These fees are often set very low nor have not been raised in years in most cities and counties across Central Minnesota.

  • Stop Sampling

    The Freedom to Breathe Act (2007) includes language allowing tobacco product shops to provide samples to customers. While the legislative intent was for retailers to provide single samples, many tobacco stores have exploited this loophole to allow the sampling of their products for longer periods of time. Often, these stores have a bar or lounge-like atmosphere, encouraging patrons to stay longer. One way localities can close this loophole is to pass policies prohibiting sampling of tobacco product. This would apply to all products, including; cigars, hookah and e-cigarettes/e-juice. This type of policy restores the intent of the Freedom to Breathe Act and protects employees of these shops and lounges from dangerous secondhand smoke/vapor exposure.


Hear from NYC students regarding their experiences with BIG Tobacco marketing.


Many communities in Central Minnesota have not updated their tobacco licensing ordinance to include updates required by state policy. Crave the Change works to support communities in making these updates along with exploring other prevention strategies for specific communities.

Local point-of-sale strategies enhance state tobacco control efforts in the following ways:

  • Decrease tobacco use and impulse purchases of harmful products
  • Reduce tobacco related health disparities
  • Counter the amount of dollars being spent on marketing by the tobacco industry
  • Increase community awareness of tobacco industries practices
  • Communicate health information
  • Improve compliance with tobacco control strategies


Connect with us today and learn how you can get involved in updating our local tobacco ordinances to help reduce tobacco’s harm in our communities.