St. Paul City Council proposes stricter tobacco laws

The St. Paul City Council is looking at huge changes to their tobacco laws, including a new approach to make vaping more expensive.

The proposed ordinance would ban the use of coupons and discounts for all forms of tobacco. Other cities have banned coupons for cigarettes, but St. Paul would be the first to outlaw them across the board. 

Other changes include $10 minimum prices on packs of cigarettes and tins of chewing tobacco, and lowering the number of tobacco licenses to 150. Currently, there are 190 tobacco licenses, so any retailer who loses a license through violations has no chance to get it back.

"I think the council has been very frustrated with the behavior of some of their retailers, so I think that’s part of the motivation for this. But, I think the evidence is just so clear - this is a deadly product, it addicts the young and keeps them for life - and if we can stop that cycle, we’re going to be ahead," said Jeanne Weigum with the Association for Non-smokers Minnesota.

The ordinance change will be introduced on Wednesday, and a public forum will follow later this month before it is voted on. It is expected to pass.