Through licensing and related regulations, local governments (cities and counties) have the opportunity to address the sale of tobacco and related devices and products (such as electronic cigarettes) in the retail environment. This series of resources provides Minnesota-specific information on local retail tobacco licensing and point-of-sale options.
Overview of considerations involved when regulating tobacco price discounting.
Policy options and considerations when raising the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21 years.
Local governments can use licensing and land use regulations to restrict where tobacco retailers operate or the types of businesses that sell tobacco products.
Cities and counties must follow certain procedures when adopting or amending licensing ordinances that regulate the retail sale of tobacco products.
Local governments interested in setting a minimum price or minimum pack size for cigars have several policy options to consider.
The sale of tobacco is regulated by laws adopted at the federal, state, and local levels. A number of enforcement programs exist to monitor retailer compliance with these different laws and to provide consequences when violations occur.
Peers can be a key source of tobacco for minors. Underage clerks can feel pressured to sell tobacco to their friends or others that they know. Those closer to age 18, or more physically mature youth may be more successful buying tobacco from younger clerks. Setting or increasing the minimum age for those who sell tobacco is one way to reduce illegal sales to minors.
Licensing is a tool that local governments use to regulate businesses to help ensure compliance with the law. Cities and counties incur costs when administering and enforcing those regulations. A retail tobacco license fee allows cities and counties to recover their costs by placing the financial burden on those creating them – the retailers and their customers. When the fee isn’t sufficient, community residents are essentially subsidizing the sale of tobacco.
We expect people to follow our tobacco laws. But when they don’t, there can be consequences. Effective licensing penalties encourage compliance and reduce the need for costly enforcement actions. Penalties should be reasonable, and an enforcement program must be administered responsively.
Federal and state laws restrict the distribution of some tobacco product samples and limit the smoking and use of these products in some locations. However, not all retailers and products are subject to these restrictions. Fortunately, local governments can adopt more restrictive regulations that address samples and sampling.