Minneapolis Restricts Menthol Tobacco
The Physician Advocacy Network is thrilled to announce that last week Minneapolis became one of the first cities in the United States to tackle health inequities head on by restricting the sale of menthol flavored tobacco products. The Minneapolis City Council approved an amendment to include menthol in the city's existing flavored tobacco restrictions limiting their sale to adult-only tobacco shops. The measure will go into effect August 1, 2018 and menthol will also be available in liquor stores unlike other flavors.
Physician support for this measure was outstanding and we would like to thank all of those who contacted their council members, as well as Dr. Ken Kephart who testified at the public hearing alongside Prashasti Bhatnagar a public health student at the University of Minnesota and member of the PAN's Student Advocates Against Menthol. Medical students Alex Feng and Ed Walczak also attended meetings with their city council members and published a letter to the editor in the Minnesota Daily. In addition to that, at least 15 physicians and medical students from across Minneapolis personally contacted their council members and upwards of 50 physicians signed postcards to express support. We hope physicians will continue to reach out to the council to thank them for supporting this groundbreaking ordinance. You can find your City Council Member and their contact information on the City of Minneapolis' website.
St Paul will consider their own amendment to restrict the sale of menthol tobacco in September. St Paul's public hearing will take place on September 20th at 5:30 pm with a final vote occurring on September 27. We're excited to have ongoing physician and medical student involvement as we work toward another victory across the river!
If you'd like to learn more about menthol tobacco, watch this short video created by the Physician Advocacy Network.