Bloomington to no longer issue tobacco licenses, bans sale of flavored tobacco

Bloomington is the latest city in Minnesota to end the sale of flavored tobacco products, but the city's new ordinance takes the additional step of prohibiting any future tobacco licenses within the city.

Monday night, the Bloomington City Council voted 4-2 to approve the ordinance. 

Under the new rule, the city will no longer issue new tobacco licenses and once a tobacco business closes, their license will expire. According to the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota, the inclusion of this provision makes Bloomington's ordinance is the first of its kind in the state.

"People who have sat around this dais before have made some bold choices regarding public health in the City of Bloomington, so I hope we can do them proud with the work we are doing here and at the same time keeping in mind our business community and trying to work what’s best for the entire city and moving forward on this," said Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse following the vote.

Advocates argue the sale of flavored tobacco, including menthol, targets young people and the Black community, leading to later health issues.

The part of the ordinance affecting licensing goes into effect June 30, 2022, while the ban of the sale of flavored tobacco products takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.